August 15, 2014 8:45 pm -

Hidden away in the Pittsburgh-area mansion of a former coal baron was some delicious century-old whiskey, in which  a former live-in caretaker allegedly helped himself to $102,000 worth of the expensive alcohol.

63-year-old John Saunders, the former caretaker died,thus ending criminal charges that he drank more than $102,000 worth of old whiskey that he was supposed to be guarding.



A district judge last year ordered Saunders of Irwin, to stand trial after hearing testimony from the owner of the South Broadway Manor Bed and Breakfast, according to the Associated Press.

Saunders died on July 21st, which ended the case.

The police were told by the mansion’s owner, Patricia Hill — a longtime friend of the newly deceased suspect’s –that she found  nine 12-bottle cases of whiskey hidden in the century-old mansion built by industrialist J.P. Brennan after she bought it in 2011.

Court records state that Hill hired Saunders that March to care for the property, which was to include safeguarding the whiskey.

When Hill went to have the pre-Prohibition Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey appraised in March of 2012, she discovered  there were 52 empty bottles, in which police said they later discovered DNA from Saunders’ saliva.

The whiskey was produced in 1912 and bottled in 1917 by the West Overton Distilling Co. and was appraised at more than $2,000 a bottle, according to the AP.

At the time of Saunders’ arrest, Hill said the bottles which were consumed, were valued at $102,000.

Court records say that in September 2013, Hill submitted a $75,000 restitution bill in which she claimed each of the five cases was worth $15,000, according to Trib Live.

“I didn’t get a dime. There was no insurance,” Hill said.

Last spring,at his preliminary hearing Saunders denied drinking the whiskey.

“Yuck! That stuff had floaters in it and all kind of stuff inside the bottles. … I don’t think it would even be safe to drink,” Saunders told the Tribune-Review.


“I think Pat’s … looking for money. I’d say that whiskey’s real value is about $10 a bottle and she hired someone to inflate the price. … That whiskey was there for years and years, kept in a stinky, dirty basement and probably has gone through flooding and all,” Saunders added.

Image of guy who this story is totally not about: HowiesRestaurant. 

H/T: My BFF Queen @ComenKDT with thanks.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

2 responses to Man Accused Of Drinking $102,000 Worth Of Stolen Whiskey Dies

  1. Jake August 15th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Judge: Where were you at the time of the offense?
    Defendant: I can’t remember I was as drunk as a judge.
    Judge: You mean drunk as a Lord!
    Defendant: Sorry m’Lord.

  2. Budda August 16th, 2014 at 9:01 am

    If I drank $102,000 of whiskey I’d be dead too.