Thief robs graves of composers Johannes Brahms and Johann Strauss
POLICE have launched a manhunt in Austria after the teeth of composers Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms were stolen from their graves.
Videos of the grave robber were posted online, where he was seen apparently opening the crypts of the 19th-century composers and extracting their skulls.
The thief, known only by the initials OJ, then uses pliers to lever the teeth out, while giving a running commentary of his actions.
Austrian media have reported that the grave robber intends to create a museum of the stolen artefacts – of which he claims to have amassed hundreds of skeletal samples from the Viennese Central Cemetery.
Police launched the investigation after reviewing the footage – believed to have been posted by the thief – and checking the tombs for evidence the dentures had been removed. Several teeth, real and false, were found to be missing.
Officials have ordered checks on other graves in the same cemetery, including the crypts of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Arnold Schoenberg.
If police capture the thief he could be charged with burglary and disturbing the peace of the dead as well as facing a hefty prison sentence.