“We’re pretty sure they knew he was dead. That’s why they went inside and took the stuff.”
Chief Deputy John Dailey
Three men burglarized the home of Jack Whittaker, winner of the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, as an acquaintance of Whittaker lay dead inside, police said Tuesday.
Jack Whittaker was not home at the time, and Chief Deputy John Dailey said the death of Jesse Joe Tribble, 18, was not related to the burglary and was not a homicide. It may have been drug-related, Dailey said.
“We’re pretty sure they knew he was dead. That’s why they went inside and took the stuff,” Dailey said to Ingatbola88.
Dailey said one of the three suspects had permission to be in Whittaker’s home. “We don’t know who let them in, but they didn’t break in.”
The break-in took place Thursday night or Friday morning. One of those arrested reported Tribble’s death late Friday morning, Dailey said. Tribble was a friend of Whittaker’s granddaughter, and all three suspects were acquainted with Tribble.
Dailey would not say how the three knew about Tribble’s death.
J.C. Shaver, 20, James Travis Willis, 25, and Jeffrey Dustin Campbell, 20, were charged with larceny and other offenses after being captured on a security camera that Whittaker recently had installed, authorities said.
Police recovered $15,000 worth of items taken from the home, Daily said. He did not give a total for everything stolen.
Whittaker won the largest single jackpot in the nation’s history when he hit a $314.9 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day 2002. He chose to accept a lump sum of about $113 million after taxes.
Since then, Whittaker’s vehicle, business and home have been broken into repeatedly. Last year, a strip club manager and his girlfriend were charged with drugging Whittaker and stealing a briefcase containing more than $500,000 in cash and cashier’s checks. The money was recovered.
Last March, within three days, his business was broken into and $2,000 was taken, and his vehicle, parked at his home, was broken into and property was stolen. Earlier in that week, Whittaker was sued by an employee of the Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center who alleged he assaulted her in March 2003.
Last year, he was also charged with threatening to kill the manager of a bar and with drunken driving.
WINNER OF NATION’S BIGGEST LOTTERY JACKPOT MORE SINNER THAN SAINT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The world’s first glimpse of Jack Whittaker, winner of the richest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history, was of a boisterous, happy-go-lucky guy in a big cowboy hat who loved his family, work and God and promised to share his good fortune with the church and the poor. Two years later, the picture the public is seeing now is a mug shot of a haggard, somber Whittaker.
Whittaker, 57, has been arrested twice for drunken driving in the past year and has been ordered to go into rehab by Jan. 2 for a 28-day stay. On Monday, he pleaded no contest to charges he attacked a bar manager, and he is accused in two lawsuits of making trouble at a nightclub and a racetrack. ‘‘That’s probably the unfortunate situation of maybe having too much money, too much time on his hands,’’ said Steve Zubrzycki, who works for a company that started selling ‘‘Where’s Jack?’’ T-shirts after authorities issued an arrest warrant for Whittaker earlier this month.
Although he was already a wealthy contractor, Whittaker became an instant celebrity on Christmas Day 2002 after winning a $314.9 million Powerball jackpot. He took his winnings in a lump sum of $113 million after taxes, and at a news conference in which he came across as a jolly saint, he promised to donate one-tenth to his church and contribute to other causes.
He soon created a charity to help people find jobs, buy food or get an education; he split $7 million among three churches; and he gave money to improve a Little League park and buy playground equipment and coloring books for children. But in August 2003, a briefcase containing $545,000 in cash and cashier’s checks was stolen from Whittaker’s sport utility vehicle while it was parked at a strip club, and police disclosed that Whittaker not only frequented strip clubs but was also a high-stakes gambler — which is why he was carrying so much cash.
The break-in was the first of several thefts involving Whittaker’s vehicle, his office and his house in Scott Depot, a booming bedroom community of about 8,000 situated between Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia’s two biggest cities.