Principal Questioned In Bourbon Theft

Reported by: Melanie Kendall
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Updated: 10/29/2013 12:29 am

$26,000.00 worth of bourbon is missing from a distillery in Frankfurt.  It’s a story making national headlines and a high school principal was caught in the middle of it.

222 bottles of Pappy van Winkle bourbon was reported stolen from the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  195 bottles of 20-year-old bourbon valued at $130.00 per bottle and 27 bottles of 13-year-old version valued at $25.00 each are gone.

Chris Pickett is the principal of Bardstown High School.  He was seen on surveillance video at an Elizabethtown liquor store.  According to Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton, store clerks say Pickett came into the store trying to sell a large quantity of Pappy van Winkle bourbon. 

Franklin County detectives questioned Pickett Monday afternoon about the missing bourbon. Melton says Pickett was very cooperative with the investigation.

Pickett’s attorney, Doug Hubbard with Fulton, Hubbard & Hubbard, says Pickett is a whiskey collector and he was in the store looking to buy a rare bottle of Pappy can Winkle.

“His version is he was there to buy a bottle of bourbon and both the store clerks are saying he was there trying to sell a large quantity of bourbon,” said Melton.

Hubbard says Pickett was out-of-state when the surveillance video was released.  As soon as he learned police wanted to talk with him, Hubbard says Pickett called him to set up a meeting with the Sheriff’s office.  

“He was very forthcoming today and very cooperative so we'll see where it goes,” said Melton.

Melton says Franklin County detectives have been working around the clock and continue to follow all leads to close this case.

“You want to dot your I's and cross your T’s because when we do find out who this is, we want to make sure the case sticks,” said Melton.

Since being questioned Melton says Pickett is not a person of interest.

“I don't know that I would define him as a person of interest, now that we've got him identified, now that we've talked to him we've just got to collaborate some of the things that he said,” said Melton.

Melton says an inventory audit showed the bourbon was missing from the distillery.  Detectives believe the theft happened during a couple months and it was some type of inside job however Melton says they are looking at the case from all angles.


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