Police officer linked to Pappy crime ringBy Amy Hopkins
A veteran Kentucky police officer has resigned from his post after he was allegedly linked to the leader of a criminal ring accused of pilfering US$100,000 worth of Bourbon.
According to local reports, police officer Michael Wells had exchanged phone calls with Gilbert Curtsinger – thought to be the ring leader of a syndicate that orchestrated the theft of rare Pappy Van Winkle and Wild Turkey Bourbon casks.
A total of nine people were charged with suspected involvement in the high profile cases by a grand jury in Kentucky earlier this month.
Police uncovered the syndicate, reportedly formed by people who knew each other through softball, after five stolen barrels of Wild Turkey Bourbon worth US$30,000 were discovered in the backyard of Buffalo Trace worker Curtsinger.
This theft has not been linked with US$26,000 worth of Pappy Van Winkle taken from the Buffalo Trace Distillery – long thought by police and distillery workers to have been an “inside job”.
Mark Searcy, who worked at the Wild Turkey Distillery, was also named among the list of accused.
Officer Wells, 42, who has been a law enforcement officer for 23 years, was allegedly involved in a transaction for anabolic steroids with Curtsinger, the Lexington Herald Leader reports. He has not been charged with the Bourbon thefts, however he has been named in search warrants relating to the investigation.
Authorities discovered Wells has made calls to Curtsinger when search warrants were issued for the distillery workers’ home.
“During the course of this internal investigation, evidence was discovered which indicated that officer Wells may have been in violation of the policies of the city of Frankfort,” said Frankfort police chief Jeff Abrams.
“After deliberation, officer Wells elected to resign his position with the Frankfort Police Department.”