GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - The live-in caretaker of a Greensburg mansion faces criminal charges for allegedly drinking more than $100,000 worth of the owner's whiskey.
The butler did not do it! Nope! In this case, police have put the finger on a caretaker with a powerful thirst for hundred year old whiskey.
John Saunders, 62, of Irwin, is charged with drinking 52 bottles of very valuable vintage whiskey.
In 1986, Pat Hill purchased a turn-of-the-20th-century mansion on South Broadway in Scottdale.
Hill, a New York fashion model who was born in the Pittsburgh area, poured more than three quarters of a million dollars into it, transforming the estate into a luxurious bed and breakfast in the '90's.
Innkeeper Rick Bruckner says that during the renovations a painter made a wild discovery.
"Hidden back in the walls were nine cases of Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey," said Bruckner. "The whiskey itself was distilled in spring of 1913 and it was bottled in the fall of 1917."
Coal baron, J.P. Brennan - the builder of the house - apparently stockpiled the celebrated Old Farm Pure Rye produced at the West Overton Distillery, which was then owned by Henry Clay Frick.
"But they buried it back in the walls and forgot about it," said Bruckner.
The nine cases, a dozen sealed bottles in each, were stored in John Saunders' basement apartment. Last year, Hill found that half of the whiskey bottles were empty.
Hill told KDKA-TV by phone that she "is just sick about it." That when she "asked Saunders what happened," he answered, "Oh, it must have evaporated."
Hill took her suspicions to police.
Lab results came in matching Saunders' DNA with saliva on three of the empty bottles.
The 52 bottles that Saunders allegedly drank we're appraised at more than $100,000.
Hill told KDKA's Mary Robb Jackson that he's known their family for years. They trusted him and that the worst part of this is that he betrayed that trust.
Saunders is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
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