A Canadian citizen who was planning to return home from Alaska may have to wait a little longer. Thirty-seven-year-old Eric Laurence is charged with stealing $1,700 in expensive wine form the Grog Shop in downtown Homer.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Homer Police officer Jacob Ruebelmann, the crime was reported August 30th by Grog Shop owner Mel Strydom, who had video evidence collected from the store’s numerous security cameras.
Strydom reported that the total theft from the Grog Shop was $1,700.
In the security camera footage, a man later identified to be Laurence can be seen targeting expensive bottles of wine in the Grog Shop’s well-stocked wine room. The man can be seen taking bottles of wine out of their slots and replacing them with inexpensive bottles.
In all, five bottles were stolen from the Grog Shop. Strydom reports that the thief made off with some of the store’s most high-dollar inventory, including a bottle of 2006 Guigal la Landonne worth $429 and a bottle of 2005 Guigal la Turque worth $536.
The day after the robbery, a Grog Shop employee recognized the man from the camera footage, who had returned to the store to buy beer. The employee called police, who contacted the man, later identified as Laurence.
According to the complaint, Laurence declined to speak with officers about the robbery and was arrested.
Laurence is a Canadian citizen from Montreal, Quebec. He told police he was not planning to stay in Alaska much longer. He is charged with two counts of second-degree theft and two counts of third-degree theft. All of the charges are felonies. An arraignment hearing is set for Tuesday before Judge Charles Huguelet at the Kenai Courthouse.
The Grog Shop was the target of an armed robbery last December, when 51-year-old John Mumey held the store up at gunpoint, fleeing with the contents of the cash register before he was caught by Homer Police.
In April, Mumey pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with physical evidence in the case. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail.