Man Drinks $100k of Employer's Whiskey

Suspect claimed old whiskey just evaporated

A Pennsylvania man employed as a live-in caretaker at a Philadelphia mansion sipped away more than $100,000 of his employer's whiskey, and he's now facing criminal charges over the pilfered hooch.

Patricia Hill found nine cases of Old Farm Pure Rye whiskey hidden in the walls and stairwell while renovating the turn of the century mansion she'd purchased with the intent of turning it into a bed and breakfast. According to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the whiskey was distilled in 1912 and bottled in 1917, and each case held 12 bottles. The mansion's original owner was a big rye fan and is presumed to have ordered the cases before Prohibition, then walled them up for safekeeping.

Caretaker John Saunders helped her move the whiskey, but when he later moved out of the mansion, Hill discovered that several of the cases were full of empty bottles. When questioned by police, Saunders said the whiskey had probably just evaporated. He also suggested that the rye was so old it wouldn't have been any good anyway.

But then his DNA was found around the mouths of several of the empty bottles, and the whiskey was evidently still good enough for someone to drink 52 bottles of it.

Saunders was eventually charged with theft and receiving stolen property, and a New York auction house said the undrunk bottles would have been worth $102,400.

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"This whole experience has shocked me,” Hill said. “I was shocked when I found them, shocked to find Mr. Saunders drank them, and shocked when I received the appraisal. I had just planned to preserve them.”