Mansion caretaker busted for drinking $100,000 worth of old whiskey
AP: Fifty-two bottles of well-aged whiskey disappeared between his lips, police said, and now it’s time for a western Pennsylvania man to settle up.
John Saunders, the former live-in caretaker of a Pittsburgh-area mansion, faces criminal charges for allegedly drinking more than $100,000 worth of the owner’s whiskey.
Owner Patricia Hill found nine cases of whiskey hidden in the walls and stairwell of the century-old Georgian mansion built by coal and coke industrialist J.P. Brennan after she bought it in 2012.
Thirsty: Caretaker John Saunders allegedly drank more than $100,000 worth of turn-of-the-century whiskey belonging to his employer
History: The West Overton Distilling Co. was one of America’s longest-serving distilleries before Prohibition closed it in 1919
The Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey was produced in the early 1900s by the nearby West Overton
WHAT THE CARETAKER HAD TO DRINK
John Saunder went through 48 bottles of Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey, valued at $102,400.
The whiskey was made by the West Overton Distiling Co., which distilled rye for more than a century before being closed at the beginning of Prohibition in 1919.
The distillery was the family business of the Overholdts, who’s name is still attached to one of the most widely available rye whiskeys in the United States. Pre-Prohibition one of their most popular brands was Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey. Once liquor was legal again, the family sold the Old Overholdt brand to National Distillers.
‘My guess is that Mr. Brennan ordered 10 cases…pre-Prohibition,” said Hill, a New Yorker who bought the house to convert it into a bed-and-breakfast. ‘I was told by his family that family members used to greet him at the door each day with a shot of whiskey.’
Scottdale police told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Saunders drank dozens of bottles whiskey valued at $102,400 by a New York auction house.
Saunders, 62, of Irwin, was charged with receiving stolen property and theft.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Hill told police Chief Barry Pritts she stored the whiskey in the original cases, which contained 12 bottles each.
After Saunders moved out, Hill said she discovered last March that the bottles in four cases were empty.
Saunders initially denied drinking the whiskey when questioned by police, but Pritts said a DNA linked him to three of the empty bottles.
A phone listing for Saunders could not immediately be located Friday.
Treasure: Owner Patricia Hill found nine cases of whiskey hidden in the walls and stairwell of the century-old Georgian mansion built by coal and coke industrialist J.P. Brennan after she bought it in 2012