Rock n' roll grave robber Steven Conard, a 39-year-old grounds worker at the Allouez Catholic Cemetery in Wisconsin, was placed under arrest on Saturday and charged with "felony theft from person or corpse." Confronted at his home, Conard had confessed to removing a Fender Telecaster from the coffin of Randall Jourdan, a beloved father and grandfather who for years told everyone he knew that his dying wish was to be buried with the "pride and joy" guitar he'd played for over 40 years.
A funeral director mentioned to Conard and a co-worker of the special circumstances, then left the two men alone.
[Co-worker James] Lang told deputies that Conard opened the casket and remarked, "That's a Telly, a really expensive guitar. I have to have that guitar. It's too expensive to be in a crypt." Lang, who recalled that the Telecaster was atop Jourdan's body, added that as Conard closed the casket, he asked "if he would say anything if he took the guitar."
Yes, as a matter of fact, he would. Lang checked the casket twice before burial. The second time, the guitar was missing, and he informed the funeral home director. It was recovered in Conard's possession by police and returned to the family, who reunited it with its deceased owner for what should be eternity — barring any midnight visits with pick-axes and shovels.
"This isn't something I normally do," Conard said, according to a Circuit Court criminal complaint. "I just have a respect for fine musical instruments."