A South Los Angeles family stopped a man from making off with their dead relative's body, which was still in the back of the hearse he had stolen from outside the church where services were to take place yesterday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The incident took place as a funeral director was preparing services for 19-year-old Jonté Lee Reed at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Shirley Little, the pastor's wife, told the Times that the director had left the hearse idling as he went inside to arrange flowers; when he returned, it was gone.
"Family members driving to the funeral had been notified of the theft and saw a hearse passing them near 52nd and Main streets, about four blocks from the Baptist church," the Times reports. "They made the driver pull over and began angrily arguing with him." Police were called and the man was taken into custody. Police told KTLA5 he would likely be charged with auto theft and his mental condition "evaluated."
"Even with all of that occurring, the service for this gentleman was only 30 minutes late," Little said. "It was nice."
In 2011, a West Virginia woman was charged with grand larceny and displacement of a dead body after she stole a hearse with a body in it from outside a funeral home. In November, an escaped nursing home patient suffering from dementia stole a corpse-laden hearse in Australia.