McDonald Police Shut Down Moonshine Operation Possibly Inspired By Reality Show

McDONALD (KDKA) — The flicker of a flame seen by a neighbor in a shed Thursday evening prompted a call to 911.

“That somebody was burning in Midway,” McDonald Police Chief Mark Dorsey said.

Responding officers found the shed next to a mobile home on James Way in Midway, Washington County.

“They could smell that sweet smell, and they could also hear something like bubbling, like cooking,” said Chief Dorsey.

Police knocked on the shed door, and somebody opened it up.

“They were cooking some moonshine,” Chief Dorsey says.

Officers seized two metal kegs, copper and rubber tubing, a propane burner, a jar filled with mash, a concoction of sugar, yeast, a starch fruit or grain, and mason jars filled with high-proof potent liquid.

“Needless to say, it wasn’t their day,” Chief Dorsey said.

Initially, the two men – one 29-years-old from Carnegie and the 34-year-old owner of the mobile home – told police they were making fuel for stock car racing.

But their real inspiration may have come from the new reality show “Moonshiners” on the Discovery Channel.

“Watched what was going on a television show, and from there they went to the Internet,” the chief said.

A recipe for Banana Brandy, Hillbilly Stills Citric Acid Powder and $680 in cash were also recovered.

Officers explained to the men that moonshining is not only illegal, but potentially explosive.

“[There are] young children in close proximity to the shed, along with their other family members,” Chief Dorsey added.

Police are consulting with the State Liquor Control Board and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in this continuing investigation. Charges are pending against the two suspects.

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