- May 27, 2003
- Reaction score
- The Mountains of Tennessee
Bottle Thief Charged
Gigs up for theft of rare western flask
When a rare Ferguson Whiskey flask was stolen last April at the Golden Gate Historical Bottle Society show at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, collectors were left frustrated and dismayed. American Bottle Auctions had brought many of their rarest and most desirable bottles coming up for their spring auction for public display and soon after set-up, a rare coffin flask was missing. Collectors and dealers alike were left feeling that even a bottle show was now unsafe to present items for sale and for auction. That a person could just walk into a bottle show and steal something right off the table of unsuspecting victims left both the organizers of the show and participants with a feeling of dread.
Soon after the show, the same bottle (valued between $1,500-$2,000), right down to three very distinctive bubbles appeared on Ebay, a well-known international auction site. It wasnâ€™t long before various people began calling American Bottle Auctions informing them of a very similar bottle to the one stolen in Vallejo being sold on Ebay. After contacting authorities in the Vallejo police department, the seller of the flask was contacted and within months police had a suspect. His picture was available online and soon his address and a profile of this would be thief became readily available and the Vallejo District Attorneyâ€™s office had a case.
After being interviewed and denying heâ€™d taken anything, a Mr. Paul Wisnyi was under investigation and before police could make an arrest, Mr. Wisnyi disappeared. Not long after, police issued an arrest warrant and Wisnyi was captured, now awaiting an appearance before the Vallejo County judges.
The theft at bottle shows is not a new thing; bottles have been missing from shows for years. A couple years ago at a show in Lodi, American Bottle Auctions lost a rare M.R. Sacramento soda bottle, which was never recovered. This time was different as a number of individuals came forward and helped the police in uncovering evidence that helped them find the right person. According to the Vallejo police, they are not sure what consequences will occur regarding the thief but at least heâ€™s been given a stern warning and hopefully this arrest will make other thieves think twice before taking other peopleâ€™s property.
This last weekend at the Auburn Bottle Show, a number of bottles were missing from tables so its apparent Wisnyi has company. When presenting bottles at a show, make sure you keep an eye on your bottles at all times. We even set up a camera connected to a computer that records any movement at our table. This was most likely enough to fend off any would be thieves and it might be something to think about. Needless to say, we didnâ€™t lose a thing at Auburn. Cameras are available at any Radio Shack and for $30 you can plant it on your table with a sign that reads, â€œYou are on camera.â€ We can all get rid of this distracting and selfish behavior by simply paying more attention to our tables and looking out for our neighborâ€™s table. All it takes is a little extra precaution.