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article imageNine distillery workers indicted in massive whiskey heist

By Karen Graham     Apr 22, 2015 in Crime
Kentucky authorities have indicted nine distillery workers on Tuesday and charged them with carting away more bourbon whiskey than "one man could drink in a lifetime."
Prosecutors are saying the scheme has been going on for a number of years, and luckily the investigation got a break when acting on a tip, authorities found five barrels of bourbon, weighing 500 pounds each, in a shed on one of the indicted worker's property.
The thefts apparently targeted two distilleries, Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey and included some very prestigious brands, including a very expensive Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, said to run about $65 an ounce. Franklin County sheriff Pat Melton estimated the value of the recovered bourbon at around $100,000.
The apparent leader of the ring, Gilbert "Toby" Curtsinger, an employee with Buffalo Trace Distillery, wore his company shirt when making illegal deliveries of the bourbon in his pickup truck. "He made a lot of money off of it," Franklin County sheriff's detective Jeff Farmer said.
Of the nine people indicted, two were employees of Buffalo Trace distillery, and one worked at Wild Turkey, authorities said. Others charged were middlemen in the operation. All the members of the group were charged with engaging in organized crime as members of a criminal syndicate.
Authorities described Curtsinger as being very open when selling the stolen bourbon, presenting himself as an employee of the company. He sometimes sold barrels of bourbon to middlemen who then resold it to make a profit. The thefts included "20 cases of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, 50 to 70 cases of Eagle Rare bourbon and other barrels of whiskey that were stolen but not recovered," says Zachary M. Becker, an assistant Franklin County prosecutor.
The barrels of bourbon were valued at $3,000 to $6,000 a barrel, depending on the type and age of the bourbon. No other distilleries were targeted. Kentucky is home to 95 percent of the world's bourbon production, according to the Kentucky Distillers' Association.
More about buffalo trace distillery, wild turkey distillery, nine workers, bourbon whiskey, Kentucky
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