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Footage leads authorities to Hardin County in bourbon theft case

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By Sarah Bennett

Investigators are searching for a person of interest in Hardin and Nelson counties whom they believe has information in the theft of more than 60 cases of a high-priced, rare bourbon.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said nearly 200 bottles of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve bourbon was reported stolen at 4:11 p.m. Oct. 14 from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. He described the bourbon as “very, very rare and really hard to get.”

According to Melton, 65 cases with three bottles per case were reported missing from the distillery as well as nine cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.

In total, Melton said more than $26,000 worth of bourbon was stolen.

The case got a break Sunday when a man reportedly attempted to sell the rare bourbon at a Hardin County liquor store, Melton said.

“He indicated he had a large, large quantity of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon,” the sheriff said.

Officials have declined to release the store’s name and exact location, citing its protection.

A surveillance video the agency posted on its Facebook page shows a white male entering the store at 1:49 p.m. Sunday and then leaving just more than a minute later.

According to Melton, investigators believe the man is from the Hardin-Nelson county area because he’s seen in the video wearing a purple pull-over sweatshirt that appears to be Bardstown High School apparel.

The man is driving a late model Ford F-150 pick-up that appears to be green with a tan trim, the sheriff said. Melton estimated the man is between 50 and 60 years of age.

The man is a “person of interest” wanted for questioning in the investigation.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office via its Facebook page or at its Text-a-Tip line at 502-320-3306.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.

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