The case of the great Kentucky bourbon heist has at last been solved.
In October of 2013, more than 200 bottles of the highly sought-after Pappy Van Winkle brand of bourbon went missing from a securely locked area of the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Even before the robbery, bottles of the bourbon were hard to come by – some sold privately for as much as $1,000.
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton has always maintained that the theft was an inside job. Recently he announced nine indictments that prove he was correct.
Detectives have been working on the case for more than a year now. Their work lead them to the residence of Toby Curtsinger, where they discovered five barrels of hijacked Wild Turkey bourbon. They also found a trail of evidence that led eventually to an underground crime ring, and additional suspects.
The group of bourbon thieves included distillery employees of Buffalo Trace, with Curtsinger apparently acting as ringleader. According to Melton, stolen bourbon wasn’t the only commodity he dealt in.
Curtsinger allegedly ran an organized crime syndicate out of his home. He not only participated in the theft and distribution of filched bourbon, but also dealt in anabolic steroids. Curtsinger used his connections with a softball league to move the ill-gotten hooch.
Whoever was snatching up the stolen bourbon had great taste, and some deep pockets. Authorities have recovered $100,000 worth of missing bourbon, with one stainless steel barrel of Eagle Rare 17-year-old that’s worth $11,000.
Law enforcement hasn’t accounted for all of the missing Pappy Van Winkle bourbon quite yet. They have a mere 25 bottles in custody at the moment – roughly 10% of what was stolen. The balance has already been sold, and authorities aren’t optimistic about being able to recover it.
So what will become of any bourbon if it’s recovered in the future? Get ready to shed some tears, bourbon lovers – by law it will have to be destroyed.