WINFIELD, W.Va. – Three men burglarized the home of Jack Whittaker (search), winner of the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, as an acquaintance of Whittaker's lay dead inside, police said Tuesday.
Whittaker was not home at the time, and Chief Deputy John Dailey said the death of Jesse Joe Tribble (search), 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.
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 (search) 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.