By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Patricia Hill thought she made quite the find after purchasing a turn of the century Georgian mansion to convert to a bed and breakfast. The previous owner, coal tycoon J.P. Brennan, had stashed 108 bottles of vintage 1912 Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey in his walls and stairwell as a hedge against the nanny state of his time, Prohibition. “My guess is that Mr. Brennan ordered 10 cases, pre-Prohibition,” said Hill. “I was told by his family that family members used to greet him at the door each day with a shot of whiskey.” Now, that’s a greeting.
But, alas, not everyone is reverential about antiquities; they’re more pragmatic. The mansion’s live-in caretaker, John Saunders, is now charged with theft of the about $100,000.00 in liquor (52 bottles) and not for re-sale mind you. He’s accused of simply drinking every drop. Saunders, 62, of Irwin, PA was charged with receiving stolen property and theft. Saunders defended saying that it would have never been safe for him to drink that old alcohol and … miracles of miracles … that it must have evaporated. We all know about those blisteringly hot summers in the western mountains of Pennsylvania. Scottsdale, AZ has nothing on them.
Saunders has now thought better of that meteorological defense once police pointed out that DNA evidence on the bottles linked him to the crime. Corks had been removed or a hole had been punched through the bottom of the cork to get the whiskey out. Saunders’ preliminary hearing was postponed until May so that he can have the help of a public defender.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger