MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 42-year-old Lakeville man is accused of swindling a business out of thousands by putting cheap wine labels on expensive wine, according to charges filed in Dakota County.
Clinton Patterson Balfanz faces one felony charge of theft by swindle in connection to the incidents, which are alleged to have occurred between Nov. 18, 2015 and Jan. 7, 2016 in Dakota County.READ MORE: For His 22nd Birthday, Former Gopher Rashod Bateman Bought A Car... For His Mom
According to the complaint, Balfanz allegedly purchased – on multiple occasions – numerous expensive wine bottles from a Burnsville business, but they would ring up for drastically cheaper. In one instance, Balfanz purchased four bottles of wine that rang up for $9.99 each, but in actuality two were valued at $79.99 and the other two were valued at $84.99.
The Burnsville business says the total loss as a result of Balfanz’s actions was $2,591.80, the complaint said.READ MORE: Most Americans Rank Buying A Home Over Getting Married
Balfanz is accused of trying similar tactics on another business. Surveillance footage from that business showed him tampering with and replacing bar codes on bottles of wine, but not going through with the purchase. It’s unclear how much the business suffered in losses, if anything.
After the aforementioned business positively identified Balfanz as the suspect, a search warrant was executed at his house and business. At his home, police located a sliding pocket door that concealed an insulated door encased in concrete with a key pad handle. After finding a key to the door, police discovered a rack of wine inside containing hundreds of bottles of wine – including numerous bottles of wine that were listed on the search warrant, the complaint said.
Police also found sheets of bar codes, including f bar codes for inexpensive wine bar codes that had been placed on the expensive wine purchased from the Burnsville liquor store.MORE NEWS: 4 Ex-MPD Officers To Be Tried Together In Federal Case For George Floyd's Death, Judge Rules
If convicted, Balfanz faces up five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.