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Update 7/21: Chef Robert Wiedmaier says the stolen alcohol and audio equipment belongs to his bar and live music venue, Villain & Saint located in Bethesda. “God bless Sarah White,” he says, referring to the bartender who found the haul on the sidewalk and brought it into her apartment for safe-keeping. “I’m going to treat her to dinner at Marcel’s, that was very kind of her to do that.”
While Wiedmaier says he will have to toss almost all of the alcohol because the bottles were opened, they are most relieved to have their equipment back, including microphones and the computer pad to the bar’s sound system. “There was something like 40 bottles. We have to dump all of that. You don’t know what somebody put in it,” he says, estimating that the loss is closer to $1,500 in value than what White estimated ($3,000).
Wiedmaier is in contact with police, who he says picked everything up this morning. He thinks he knows what happened Thursday night.
“When a manager was leaving that night, the door to the men’s room was locked,” the restaurateur recounts. “We think whoever the thief was locked himself in the bathroom waiting for everybody to leave and then grabbed the stuff he wanted to grab.”
Why he or she left it on the sidewalk 12 miles away in Southeast, D.C. no one knows.
Bartender Sarah White was a real mensch this morning. While walking to her boyfriend’s house, she found a mountain of alcohol on the sidewalk at 13th and C Streets SE. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, we have to get this off the street, it obviously belongs to a bar.’” She collected it all and hauled it into her apartment.
Judging by the amount and the quality of the booze, including some quality Scotches, she values the bounty at around $3,000. “I want to try to find out where it goes so the bar can open tonight,” she says.
She’s certain the alcohol was stolen from a bar because most of the bottles have speed-pour tops on them. Speed-pours are the devices that get inserted into bottles for better accuracy when making drinks. Along with the bottles of alcohol, White says the pile also included some high-end sound equipment like microphones.
White’s goal is to get the alcohol and sound equipment back to its rightful owner. If a bar reaches out to her, they will have to identify certain things. “There are three different wines in the collection as well as stickers on the microphone cases that have identifying qualities,” she says.
White isn’t comfortable posting her personal e-mail address or phone number publicly, but feels the D.C. bar community is tight-knit enough for prospective bar owners to reach her. There are numerous Facebook groups for individuals who work in bars and restaurants.
“I worked at some bars that have not been able to pay bills,” she says. “This kind of situation would have shut us down. From a bartender’s perspective, I’m concerned about the money coming out of the pocket of the people that would be selling this booze.”
City Paper reached out to MPD to find out if there were any incident reports from Thursday night in the vicinity of where the alcohol was found. This story will be updated.