MODESTO, CA (CNN) – A truck driver says he was on a California highway when a guy in his underwear forced him to pull over. That story might sound crazy enough … But there’s more.
The suspect just uncorked what could be the wildest ride of any wine heist ever.
The dashcam video from a tanker truck hauling bulk red wine on Highway 99 through Modesto, first shows the suspect in a sedan, putting his hazard lights on, directing the truck to the side of the highway.
The truck driver pulls over — believing he may have a mechanical problem.
Only to see the man in the sedan get out only wearing underwear.
He runs to the passenger side of the truck-and out of view.
As the driver pulls back on the freeway, another onboard camera captures that suspect jump back into view then on the back of that wine truck.
With no shirt and no shoes, he rides on the side of the tanker. The video then shows him climbing underneath the truck as it hits freeway speeds. That’s when the driver noticed a dashboard gauge showing he was losing fluids, hundreds of gallons of red wine.
He then called the California Highway Patrol.
“I’ve listened to radio,” says Ofc. Tom Olsen of the Modesto California Highway Patrol. “I’ve listened to thousands and thousands of calls, this one’s up there in the top ten.”
The truck driver found that suspect – Gabriel Moreno, now under arrest — in an unusual position. Moreno had unscrewed a valve underneath the truck, as it was moving up Hwy. 99.
That sent the tanker’s wine gushing, and Moreno gulping as much as he could.
“This individual was able to release the wine from under the tanker, and he placed himself underneath the tanker in such a manner. The best way to describe this was somebody doing like snow angels,” Olsen says.
This Hwy. 99 red wine heist. Big and bold — with a finish in handcuffs.
“This individual got exactly what they were looking for immediately,” Olsen says.
The trucking company says they weighed their tanker after all this was over and found they had lost about 1,000 gallons of red wine, most of it ending up on Hwy. 99. That’s enough to fill about 5,000 red wine bottles.
California has an “open container” law. It says you can’t consume alcohol while on the road … Even if you’re a passenger.
Of course, usually the “container” in question is a can or bottle. It’s unclear how the law applies … To a tanker trunk.