Funeral home van theft surprises police, thief too

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida Headshot
Updated Feb 17, 2017

This might be a great theft deterrent, but you surely don’t want to try it at home or anywhere else for that matter.

A thief got the surprise of his life this week after stealing a van from a California funeral home.

Yep, you guessed it. There was a body in the van.

About an hour after the theft occurred early Sunday morning, police say Bobby Joe Washington, 24, returned the vehicle with its passenger to the Riverside funeral home and stole another one of the company’s vans, but this time he made sure it was empty. As with the case for the first van, the keys had been left in the ignition.

When a mortuary worker came out of a nearby building and tried to stop him, Washington tried to run him over, police said.

A 10 minute police chase ended in Washington’s arrest, but it didn’t come easy.

“The suspect was uncooperative, until the canines got there,” Riverside Police Department spokesman Ryan Railsback told the L.A. Times.

Washington faces multiple charges including two counts of auto theft, one count of evading police and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. He will not be facing any charges for stealing the corpse because police say Washington never intended to take the body.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything like this,” Railsback said. “Out of all the bad decisions he made, he at least made one good one and brought back the deceased person.”