Principal identified as person of interest in bourbon theft - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bardstown H.S. principal speaks with authorities investigating bourbon theft

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Authorities say Bardstown High School principal Chris Pickett was "very cooperative and forthcoming" when he met with Franklin County Sheriff's deputies Monday as the agency continues to investigate who stole $26,000 worth of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon from a Frankfort distillery.

Pickett grabbed attention in recent days after being named a "person of interest" in the case by authorities. Surveillance video released by the sheriff's office appears to show a man fitting Pickett's likeness walking into an Elizabethtown liquor store, where clerks said he offered to sell some of the rare bourbon.

But Pickett's attorney, Doug Hubbard, tells WDRB his client was merely there interested in buying some Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

"(Pickett was) very cooperative. He answered all the questions that we had. At the end of the day, that's what we needed to happen. We've still got a lot of work to do," Melton said during an interview with WDRB. "We needed to talk to him and we did and we're moving forward with the investigation."

When pressed about whether Pickett was still considered a "person of interest," he said: "I'm not sure right now to be blunt. We have to track down his statements."

Melton added, "there's still a conflict in the story there" and that "nobody has been ruled out now."

Pickett could not be reached for comment. Sheriff Melton would not disclose further details regarding detectives' conversation with Pickett. Pickett's attorney, Doug Hubbard, told WDRB that Pickett was out of town when the video was released. He was notified by phone last week that he's suspected of being the subject seen in the surveillance video. Melton said Hubbard set up the meeting at 1 p.m. Monday between Pickett and Franklin County sheriff's deputies.

The liquor store owner, Eric Hall, told WDRB News this weekend that "a man came in Sunday to our store, talked to my manager, made conversation about Pappy Van Winkle, and he offered to sell some to my employee, or us, and my employee stated he couldn't buy it except from a distributor. The man kind of turned around, clammed up and left," said Hall, owner of Packages & More Liquors.

The investigation continues after someone stole $26,000 of bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery earlier this month.

A spokeswoman from the distillery said, "It would be highly inappropriate to comment on an on-going investigation."

Tom Fischer, who writes for bourbonblog.com, told WDRB News Monday that the alleged heist is garnering national attention. Fischer said there may be a way to track down the stolen booze if Buffalo Trace were to release the "strip stamps" that help date each bottle of bourbon as it's made.

"There's very specific strip stamps, I'm sure Buffalo Trace has those numbers but they haven't released them yet. So if they decide to, whiskey enthusiasts can look at their own collection and actually determine if this is indeed the bottle," Fischer said.


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