When pairing a wine with the sunny Florida Keys climate, many oenophiles look no further than a crisp bottle of pinot grigio.
Melissa Link, 39, of Key Largo, is a fan of the fermented Northern Italian grape, so much so that Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies say she swiped 58 bottles of pinot from the shelves of Winn Dixie from November 2017 to March of this year. When the mile marker 105.3 supermarket ran out of her favorite brand, Link apparently opted for an entirely different quaff to quench her palate — on two occasions she stole Tyku saki, deputies say.
Link was arrested June 21 on an April warrant for 60 counts of petit theft when deputies brought her in to Plantation Key jail on a separate incident where she caused a scene at the Bayside Inn at mile 99 over the hotel not having enough towels at the pool.
She's being held in county jail on a $15,000 bond for obstruction without violence and a $60,000 bond for the wine theft.
Management at Winn Dixie began to notice its inventory of pinot grigio was not aligning with what was being sold at the register in the spring. Managers then began looking at the security camera footage from the wine aisle.
"This is when they began to put together who was coming into the store and taking the wine," Sgt. Jason Madnick wrote in his report.
What managers, and later, deputies, saw on the videos was Link engaged in an elaborate choreography — sometimes using her children as lookouts —- to smuggle bottles of wine out of the store.
In one video, according to Madnick, Link goes to the wine aisle with her son and places a bottle of pinot into her cart. She and her son then go to the restrooms in the back of the store where Link takes the bottle and her purse into the ladies room. She emerges carrying her purse, sans the wine.
Link and her son then walk out of the store without purchasing anything.
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