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If Fast and Furious was set in France, it might look like this: Criminals jacked a pair of trucks loaded to the gills with Moët & Chandon champagne and made for Paris. The booze was worth at least $657,000. So when the police took off after the trucks, the evasive maneuvers began.

Champagne is a sparkling white wine grown in Champagne county which is in northern France. I mention this because it explains why trucks full of Moët & Chandon were parked in remote Reims, France. Reims is the unofficial capital of the Champagne region.

The rolling green fields of a vineyard in the Champagne region of France.
French vineyard | Moet & Chandon via iStockphoto

I have so many questions: Were these high-tech criminals who, like in the latest Fast and Furious heists, had to hack into cutting edge Semi Truck security systems? Or did they just hang out at a rest stop in the Champagne region, waiting for drivers to stop for a piss break? Or is Champagne so common in Reims that trucks of it are left unlocked, like trucks of produce in other farm towns?

Why bother stealing truckloads of Moët & Chandon? You know what they say, “No ‘pagne, no gain!”

However it went down, these European bootleggers pulled off their heist sometime between Friday evening and early Saturday morning, when the French police got involved. The authorities spotted the load of bubbly convoying into Paris.

Why Paris? I suppose that’s where you would fence stolen Champagne. Or perhaps the gang wanted to park the trucks and save their loot for their annual new years party. Who knows.

The police spotted the two trucks on the A4 divided highway in the suburb of Pontault-Cambault. They were still 12 miles outside Paris (20 km for my European friends) and racing into town.

The Moët & Chandon logo on the umbrella outside a European cafe.
Moët & Chandon cafe umbrella | BalkansCat via iStockphoto

When the police caught up with what I’ll call the “Champagne train” they found the trucks convoying with a chase car. (The BBC insisted on calling this car a “saloon,” despite all the bottles remaining unopened). The police surrounded the trucks, flipped on their lights, and demanded the thieves pull over. But the Champagne train kept on rolling.

The drivers decided to try and shake the police…by swerving. You might say things got fizz-ical. The drivers’ actions make it even more shocking to me that the two truck’s worth of Moët & Chandon bottles were still completely unopened. Despite what you see in the movies, it’s impossible to lose police pursuit cars while driving a semi-truck with its load sloshing around. The police were even able to get ahead of the trucks and slow them down.

One of the drivers definitely watches too much Fast and Furious. His next move was to leap from the truck. Talk about a “pour” decision!

Incredibly, this driver made it to the chase car. Once the first driver was in the car, he and his accomplices took off. The scene must have been chaotic, as the police tried to both secure the now unmanned Moët & Chandon truck and pursue the chase car. And in all the confusion, the other truck driver exited the interstate.

The second driver rightfully realized there is no way to drive a huge Moët & Chandon truck incognito. So he parked as soon as possible and took off on foot. Meanwhile, the criminals in the chase car managed to lose the police. All the suspects got away.

You might say they made it to the next round.


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