Accidental corpse thieves get jail time

Accidental corpse thieves get jail time
Photo: DPA
A court in Poland on Monday sentenced three men to up to four years in jail after they stole a van from outside of Berlin. What they didn't know, was that the vehicle contained 12 corpses on their way for cremation.

The trio, aged between 25 and 27, took the van from a car park in Hoppegarten on October 15th 2012 and now face between two and four years in prison and a fine of €4,000 each Der Spiegel reported.

The punishment fits only the crime of car theft as, the judge in Poznan, Poland, said, they did not know about the unusual cargo.

The corpses, all of which were German, had been loaded into a Mercedes Sprinter van and were on their way for cremation. They were discovered a week later strewn around a forest near Poznan – all were in their coffins and all were intact.

The driver had gone to wash his hands before driving from Berlin to a crematorium in Meissen, Saxony but when he came back to the van, it was gone. From the outside, it was not clear that the van was transporting bodies.

Polish police spokeswoman Hanna Wachowiak said in October it did not seem as if the thieves had any idea what was in the van when they took it. This was backed up by the Polish court.

The incident brought up the issue of the cost of cremation in Germany – the theft made it public that people were sending the corpses of loved ones miles away where the service is cheaper.

The Local/jcw

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