You wouldn’t think funeral cars – specifically hearses – would be a big target for car thieves. While the vehicles are only used sporadically, their ready access doesn’t make them exactly desirable. They’re pretty easy to spot and attract attention wherever they are – hardly the ideal target for a thief.
Still, hearses are stolen fairly frequently and over the past few years there have been a handful of stories noteworthy enough to make national – and even international – headlines.
Back in 2009, Sammy Townsley made headlines when the Scottish teenager stole a hearse and then engaged in a high speed pursuit with local police. Eventually the teenager lost control and crashed the vehicle. After his arrest it emerged he had been in trouble for years and this joyride was another in a long line of offenses.
In 2014, hearse theft was back in the news, this time thanks to a man who stole a hearse during a funeral. Omar Alejandro Gutierrez stole a hearse while a funeral service was being conducted inside a funeral home. He was apprehended later the same day but the family in mourning was forced to deal with a sudden change in their plans as they were burying their loved one.
More recently, in Atlanta, a hearse was stolen with a body still inside. This was another case where the thief quickly lost control of the car, smashed it and did escape for awhile. But again, there was no real motive behind the theft.
What could these people be thinking? not only are funeral cars fitted with GPS and tracking as the norm these days, a hearse isn’t exactly a low profile vehicle. it’s something people are bound to notice if you’re speeding through the city behind the wheel – so why steal them? Some say it’s all about the thrill and some say it’s just another way to flirt with death. Whatever the rationale, it’s plain to see these thieves aren’t exactly the shiniest tools in the shed.