The Real Story Behind 'Bourbon King' Toby Curtsinger from Netflix's 'Heist'

·2 min read
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

In the final episode of Netflix’s docuseries Heist, viewers learn about the famous “Pappygate” heist, with the two-part story of The Bourbon King. If anyone doubted Americans’ love for a strong drink, they’ll change their mind after hearing about how determined someone was to steal bottles of bourbon. In October 2013, $100,000 worth of aged Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon went missing from the Buffalo Trace distillery in Tennessee.

One suspect in the case was Buffalo Trace employee Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, who police collared after an anonymous tip said he had barrels of stolen bourbon in his backyard. Authorities raided his home and found steroids and bourbon. Curtsinger regularly snatched bourbon from work to sell to friends and various important people who couldn’t get the much sought-after drink.

Curtsinger pleaded guilty to theft charges in September 2017 and was sentenced to 15 years, although he only served 30 days. But Curtsinger’s story is only the tip of the iceberg. With his arrest, police uncovered a culture of theft among the distillery’s employees. Curtsinger denies stealing the $100,000 of bourbon in 2013, and the docuseries actually points a finger at another Buffalo Trace employee, Greg Anglin, for the crime. Still, Curtsinger’s story intrigued fans and left them with more questions about his background and of course, where he is post-Pappygate.

Who is Toby Curstinger?

Before the famous bourbon heist, Toby Curtsinger worked at Buffalo Trace for over two decades. Thrillist says the shipping employee allegedly began stealing bourbon in 2008 until the police caught up to him in April 2015. During his 7-year-run, Curtsinger brought in various friends to help remove cases and barrels from the distillery, knowing that people would pay top dollar for the bourbon (aged bottles of Pappy Van Winkle can cost anywhere from $1000 to $4000).

According to the Courier Journal, Curtsinger was given shock parole for his sentence since he was a first-time, non-violent offender. He was released in June 2018 after serving just 30 days of his sentence. Curstinger’s wife and father were also indicted, since authorities believed they had inside knowledge of his crimes. Curtsinger was the only one who served time out of 10 individuals allegedly involved in his theft.

Where is Toby Curtsinger Now?

Today, Curtsinger paints houses for a living around Frankfort, Kentucky. His parole supervision ends in 2023. His wife, Julie Curtsinger, denies any knowledge of her husband’s crimes. In the documentary, Julie says she hasn’t worn her wedding ring since discovering his wrongdoing. However, the two are still married and she believes one day they’ll be in a better place.

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