High Spirits, Low Morals: Woonsocket’s Tequila Bandit Found Guilty of $3,000 Don Julio Heist

Brenden Phang, 25, of Woonsocket, has been convicted of larceny by a jury in Kent County Superior Court. The charges are related to the theft of 10 cases of Don Julio tequila, valued at nearly $3,000, from his employer, Centrex Distributors in West Greenwich, in 2021.

Following a two-day jury trial presided over by Superior Court Justice Luis M. Matos, the jury found Phang guilty of one count of larceny greater than $1,500 and less than $5,000 on February 15, 2024.

Phang, who had been released on bail, is awaiting a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 3, 2024. Attorney General Neronha emphasized the significance of addressing theft crimes, stating, “Theft doesn’t usually elicit the same public response as some other crimes, but it matters greatly to the victims, and it matters greatly to us.”

During the trial, the State successfully demonstrated that on July 21, 2021, Phang stole 10 cases of tequila, totaling $2,936.66, from Centrex Distributors. The theft was witnessed by an employee who observed Phang and another individual driving a tan SUV into the loading area of the distribution center. The employee confronted them as they were loading cases into the vehicle, leading to a physical altercation.

The employee, recognizing Phang as a fellow coworker, reported the incident to his boss, who then contacted the West Greenwich Police Department. Responding officers arrested Phang, who was still wearing the clothes described by the employee in his statement.

West Greenwich Police Chief Richard N. Ramsay commended the efforts of law enforcement, stating, “Holding accountable those who commit theft is an important part of maintaining public safety and trust.” Special Assistant Attorney General John Malloy and Officer Michael Ruzzo led the investigation and prosecution of the case.




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