Sometime over the last few months --Franklin County, Kentucky sheriff Pat Melton isn't sure when -- a thief or even multiple thieves stole $26,000 worth of Pappy Van Winkle's bourbon from a Frankfort distillery. And Melton won't rest until he finds the culprit(s).
Sixty-five cases of the 20-year-old alcohol were reported missing from the Buffalo Trace Distillery on October 15, making the already hard to find liquor rarer still.
"Total havoc," Eater said of the theft in its Pappy Locator 2013. Bon Appetit, on the other hand, gave up trying to find any and went with "10 Bourbons to Buy When You Can't Find Pappy Van Winkle."
Suspicion immediately fell on distillery employees, but so far investigations there have yielded no results. Over 100 people have been interviewed in connection with the case, and detectives have also scoured Craigslist, eBay and "bourbon blogs" for anyone trying to offload a large supply of the stuff.
The most promising lead so far was when a clerk at Elizabethtown's Packages and More Liquor store reported a man tried to sell him a "large amount" of Pappy Van Winkle. The man wore a purple Bardstown High School sweatshirt, making it easy to identify him as Bardstown High's principal Chris Pickett.
Pickett was named as a "person of interest" in the case. His lawyer said he was indeed at the liquor store, but as a customer only. Also, if he were the thief, he'd be exceptionally stupid to wear a shirt with the name of his place of employment on it. Stupid ... or drunk off all that bourbon!
Neither, as it turned out: Pickett's good name was cleared on November 23, but Sheriff Melton, undaunted, promised that he would have a "significant announcement" to make about the case on December 2.
Today was Announcement Day, and Melton delivered: a $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the whiskey snatchers.
"The net is narrowing," Melton told the AP ("without elaborating"). "We're just trying to bring Pappy home."
Should Melton ever succeed in cracking the case, don't expect him to celebrate with a glass of Pappy's. He doesn't drink bourbon.