According to WLUK-TV, a Wisconsin cemetery worker allegedly stole a $2,000 guitar Fender guitar from the casket of a 67-year-old Army veteran who died last week and had told family members that he wanted to be buried with the instrument.
Steven Conard, a 39-year-old grounds worker at the Allouez Catholic Cemetery, was arrested Saturday and charged with felony “theft from person or corpse.”
A cemetery employee later overheard Conard talking about the guitar, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.
“That’s a Telly, a really expensive guitar. I have to have that guitar. It’s too expensive to be in a crypt,” the employee quoted Conard as saying.
During questioning on Saturday, Conard — who plays in a band — told investigators, “This isn’t something I normally do; I just have a respect for fine musical instruments,” according to sheriff’s department.
The cream-colored guitar was recovered from Conard’s living room, where the instrument was on the floor “in plain view.”
The suspect’s employer, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, said the man is on unpaid leave pending the result of the criminal investigation.
Conard was released on signature bond. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, and $25,000 in fines.
A WLUK-TV video report can be seen below.