RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Riverside police arrested a man on suspicion of stealing a mortuary van with a dead body inside, returning it then stealing another van.
It happened outside the mortuary on Chicago Avenue at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Police said the keys were in the van when it was stolen.
The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Bobby Washington.
A mortuary employee was almost struck as he tried to stop the suspect from driving away the second time, Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said.
An officer chased Washington for two and a half miles before Washington stopped and was arrested.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything like that. I’m sorry. I know it’s not funny. But it’s like you steal a van and look in the back. Can you imagine?” asked neighbor Kathie Duncan.
“It’s a little strange. I’m sure he didn’t know there was a dead body in the van I would think,” said neighbor Tracey Morgan.
Another business owner said someone tried to break into his cars around the same time the van was stolen.
Inside one of his cars, someone broke the passenger window and wedged a screwdriver into the ignition.
“But all these vehicles back here don’t run so he couldn’t get anything,” Michael Barreas said.
Barreas said he has seen Washington around before but could not say for sure if he was the same man caught on camera, using a piece of wood to break into his cars.
“The crazy part is he brings it back instead of leaving it on the side of the road. That’s pretty crazy,” he added.