Did caretaker drink $100,000 worth of whiskey?

GREENSBURG, Pa. — 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. 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 (http://bit.ly/Yu1faw ) 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.

More in Local News

Residents are helping turn Casino Road in a new direction

An initiative backed by a $700,000 grant goes to the community for solutions to the area’s challenges.

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

2 names released from recent fatal crashes

Both men were killed earlier this month.

Live in Edmonds? Hate speeders?

Edmonds has $35,000 to address local residents’ concerns about speeding in their… Continue reading

Sirens! Flashing lights! — Move over!

We are a confident bunch on what to do when we hear… Continue reading

Most Read