| 6.6°C Dublin

Coffin recovered by US police after stolen hearse crashes during chase

The thief stole the black Lincoln Navigator from outside St Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Los Angeles.

Close

Los Angeles police officers took someone into custody over the stolen hearse (Reed Saxon/AP)

Los Angeles police officers took someone into custody over the stolen hearse (Reed Saxon/AP)

Los Angeles police officers took someone into custody over the stolen hearse (Reed Saxon/AP)

US authorities have recovered a stolen hearse with a coffin and body inside after a police chase ended in a crash on a busy Los Angeles highway.

Police said they found the body undisturbed inside the coffin on Thursday morning and took someone into custody after the collision, which closed the 110 Freeway during the morning commute.

The crime began on Wednesday night, when the thief stole the black Lincoln Navigator from outside St Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in East Pasadena.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department pleaded with the thief on social media to return the body in a post that was widely shared online.

“Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one & bring back the deceased person & casket inside the Navigator,” it tweeted.

Local media have reported that the body remained in the vehicle while a mortuary attendant brought a different body into the church and that is when the SUV was stolen.

On Thursday morning, a witness reported seeing the SUV. Los Angeles police officers pursued the hearse on the freeway until it crashed at around 7.45am local time.

Video footage from news helicopters showed that it has heavy front-end damage.

The Sheriff’s Department did not identify the mortuary.

PA Media