Arrests In Lottery Winner Robbery

Andrew "Jack" Whittaker, center, and his wife Jewell place money in the offering at the Tabernacle of Praise in Hurricane, W.Va., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2002. Whittaker won the Christmas Powerball jackpot of $314.9 million. AP

The manager of a strip club and his girlfriend were arrested Thursday for allegedly drugging a Powerball jackpot winner and stealing $545,000 of the winner's money.

Authorities said Jeffrey Caplinger and Misty Arnold drugged Jack Whittaker with an unidentified substance Monday night before Caplinger took the money from Whittaker's vehicle as it idled outside the club, the Pink Pony.

Caplinger and Arnold are accused of hatching the alleged scheme after Arnold saw the multimillionaire retrieve cash from the briefcase earlier in the night, said Kanawha County sheriff's Chief Deputy Phil Morris.

Caplinger allegedly broke a window in his own car and took some compact discs and a CD player to cover up the robbery. He then allegedly dumped the briefcase and other items behind a trash bin and went back into the club.

Whittaker's private investigator later found the briefcase and other items behind the trash bin.

Caplinger, 23, and Arnold, 24, were charged with robbery and face five to 18 years in prison if convicted. They were freed on $10,000 bail and placed on home confinement, said Tom Smith, Caplinger's lawyer. A phone listing for Arnold's lawyer, Rico Moore, could not be found Thursday night.

A spokesman for Whittaker said he was out of state but planned to issue a statement Monday.

Whittaker claimed a $113 million cash option after winning a record $314.9 million jackpot on Christmas Day. The day he collected his lump sum payment, he said he would tithe 10 percent of his winnings to charity, and he has donated at least $3 million to various churches.

  • Melissa Cheung

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