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Can You Get in Trouble for Stealing From the Dead?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 14, 2016 7:00 AM

A Texas woman was arrested by Odessa police and charged with theft from a human corpse after video from a funeral home showed her reaching into an open casket and removing something from a female corpse. That something turned out to be a ring, valued at just $10, and could land the woman in state jail for two years.

Beyond the lack of respect for the dead, and the general creepiness, this woman displayed an apparent lack of concern for the legal consequences of messing with a dead body. But as Texas' statute illustrates, you can get into a lot of trouble stealing from dead people.

Putting the "Fun" in Funeral

But Kalynn Homfeld, corpse thief, isn't the first to try some shady shenanigans at a funeral or wake. Here are a few tips on keeping it legal when laying someone to rest:

Putting the "Oh Fu--" in Funeral Home

It's not just guests, employees, and random passersby that need to be on their best behavior around burials -- funeral homes are prone to the odd slip-up as well. Homes have been known to prepare the wrong corpse, bury the wrong corpse, put the right corpse in the wrong crypt, or lose a body completely.

These cases can sound comedic, but for families of the loved ones involved, the results can be tragic. You can sue for mortuary negligence, and states don't take kindly to grave-robbers and corpse-thieves.

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