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Woman's Remains Stolen from NY Mausoleum

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By Jason Beahm on August 26, 2010 1:02 PM

Here's a refreshing thought. You know that saying about letting the dead rest in peace? Well, that may be a bit hard to ensure when there are people running amok stealing bodies from Catholic cemeteries.

That's right. New York police are investigating the theft of a woman's body from a NY Mausoleum. The body stealing bandits entered three mausoleums and removed a casket from one, according to Suffolk County Deputy Inspector Robert Brown. Brown said that vandalism does happen regularly at cemeteries but that he had only heard of a body being stolen a couple of times in 25 years. The break-in happened at St. Charles Cemetery on Long Island between 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Brown said that the thieves were prepared with respect to the process necessary to remove a casket and carry the woman's remains.

WCBS reports that authorities believe that more than one person was involved in the incident. That seems like a reasonable enough conclusion, considering that caskets are massively heavy. The thieves actually took the body of a female buried 12 years ago, likely carrying it over the cemetery fence.

"It is incomprehensible that anyone would violate the sacred resting place of those that have passed from this world to eternal life," diocesan spokesman Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington said in a statement, CBS reports. He added that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has "reached out to immediate family members of the woman to express his "profound sorrow and solidarity in this painful time."

At common law it is illegal to mutilate a corpse. The unauthorized disturbance of a grave is also illegal at common law and by statute as highly contrary to acceptable community conduct. In addition, the unauthorized disinterment of a body is a criminal offense under some statutes and at common law.

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