The alleged bourbon heist and steroid ring leader Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger will plead to charges for his alleged involvement next week in court, but the exact amount of Pappy Van Winkle and who was all involved in its theft we may never know.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker and Curtsinger’s defense attorney Whitney True Lawson said in Franklin Circuit Court Friday Curtsinger is set to plead Wednesday. But to what charges is still unknown.
What we know
Curtsinger and former Wild Turkey Distillery driver Sean Searcy have pending charges of engaging-in-organized-crime, related to an estimated $100,000 of bourbon from Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace distilleries.
According to the original April 21, 2015, indictment, the men are also charged with the illegal trafficking of spirituous liquor and anabolic steroids.
In October 2013, Buffalo Trace Distillery reported 65 cases of the rare Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 year and nine cases of Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye stolen. At the time, it was considered an inside job.
Statements from former co-defendants, including several who have pled guilty, point to Curtsinger allegedly giving and selling bourbon across Kentucky — including to Frankfort police officers and a former Georgetown police chief.
But investigation documents have also pointed to other suspects who have admitted their guilt. Namely, Greg Anglin.
In 2015, detectives said some were still persons of interest.
Anglin told detectives in 2015 he was alleged advised by former distillery employee Susan Savard to build pallets of liquor.
The investigation documents state that Anglin told investigators that, “he and Susan Savard would, in fact, steal Pappy Van Winkle” and Anglin said Savard allegedly told him “she would need him to build a pallet of random liquors and place the pallet near her office door.
“She would make sure he knew to get a certain number of cases of Pappy Van Winkle and put it in the center of the pallet,” and that “she would pay him $100 and allow him to keep at least one case of Pappy Van Winkle and an unknown number of cases of other liquors.”
According to Anglin’s statements, Savard allegedly cooked the inventory numbers and that he took as many as 15 cases of Pappy Van Winkle at 12 bottles per case — that’s only 180 bottles of Pappy! Bottles that sell online for sometimes as low as $1,600 per bottle.
Investigators went to Savard’s Nicholasville home on April 4 and she denied the charges saying Anglin lied and that she had never stolen anything from Buffalo Trace. But that she was terminated for lack of confidence “amidst controversy that she gave some empty boxes to another employee, Kyle Douglas.
Savard was never charged by investigators and didn’t remain a person of interest regarding any bourbon thefts.
Douglas admitted to detectives he took a “few bottles at a time” from Buffalo Trace, and that the bottles were “given to him and others by their superiors and managers at the distillery,” according to the investigation documents.
It will be interesting to see what Curtsinger agrees to plead guilty to given the exact amount of property stolen, sold and swigged is at this point undeterminable.
Notably, former Wild Turkey delivery driver Sean Searcy hasn’t pleaded guilty to anything. He is represented by Big Bill Johnson of Bluegrass Conspiracy notoriety.
One thing’s certain, it’s not over yet.