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Caretaker accused of drinking $100,000 worth of rare whiskey

The vintage spirit was about 100 years old.

Image: Jinx! via Flickr

FIFTY-TWO BOTTLES of well-aged whiskey disappeared between his lips, police say, and now it’s time for the caretaker to settle up.

John Saunders, the former live-in caretaker of a mansion in Pittsburgh, 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 JP Brennan after she bought it in 2012. The Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey was produced in the early 1900s by the nearby West Overton Distilling Co.

“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 DNA linked him to three of the empty bottles.

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Associated Press

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