Franklin deputies charge suspect after large theft at Wild Turkey Distillery

Franklin County sheriff's deputies made an arrest and recovered five barrels of 2008 bourbon taken from Wild Turkey Distillery in Anderson County.
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office made an arrest Wednesday after a large theft from the Wild Turkey distillery in Anderson County.

Sheriff Pat Melton said the investigation was launched after receiving a text message on their tip line. Melton said this case is "one of the bigger ones we've worked" and it is "rapidly developing."

Investigators have been working this case "for the last several days," Melton said.

Gilbert Thomas Curtsinger, 45, was arrested at his home on St. Johns Road and booked Wednesday night at the Franklin County Regional Jail. When officers picked up Curtsinger, they also found several other illegal items, including steroids.

The large haul was the five barrels of 2008 bourbon, which were taken from Wild Turkey Distillery in Anderson County. Melton said investigators found the barrels, which are worth between $3,700 and $6,000 each, behind a storage building or shed on Curtsinger's property.

"Obviously this is a significant amount of bourbon. It's more than I've ever seen," Sheriff Pat Melton said.

Investigators say Curtsinger worked in the loading dock area at Buffalo Trace. Melton said there is another suspect who works at Wild Turkey. He declined to name that suspect. The sheriff also would not say how they managed to steal the barrels, which weigh 500 pounds each, because it's part of the ongoing investigation.

Melton would not connect this case -- but did not rule out -- the possibility that it could be tied to the October 2013 theft of tens of thousands of dollars worth of Pappy Van Winkle. In that case, the Pappy was reported stolen from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort.

"I'm very optimistic. I said that a long time ago when this first started and I'm as optimistic now. We're still working this case. Detectives are working and we're following up on every lead. The more leads we get on Pappy, the more were gonna follow those up," Sheriff Pat Melton said.

Also read: 2013 | Rare 20-year-old bourbon stolen from Franklin distillery

Also read: 2014 | New details emerge in Pappy Van Winkle heist

No one has been charged in that case, but Melton reiterated that he is optimistic that they will solve that case.

"We're following every lead ... we're going to move very slow and methodically to make sure we dot our I's and cross our T's," he said. "We're working it and following every lead. We will continue doing so. I'm optimistic."

Gilbert faces four counts of possessing a controlled substance (anabolic steroids), buying/possessing drug paraphernalia and receiving stolen property more than $10,000.

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