DOCUMENT: Bizarre, Crime

Woman Stole Hearse With Corpse In Back

After quarreling with girlfriend, suspect needed a ride

SEPTEMBER 21--Meet Angela DeHart.

The West Virginia woman, 23, is facing a pair of felony charges for allegedly stealing a hearse containing a body and driving home in it early yesterday.

According to police, the hearse--parked outside the Ritchie and Johnson Funeral Home in Beckley--was swiped shortly after midnight on Tuesday. The driver, cops reported, had briefly left the hearse unattended--with its door open--while he entered the funeral home.

The driver, Kenneth Bly, “pulled into the parking lot…in order to unload a corpse” from the 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse, according to a court affidavit.

As Bly moved toward the funeral home’s entrance, he spotted DeHart, who “jumped into the vehicle.” Cops noted that, “Bly witnessed the defendant’s actions and yelled ‘Hey!’” DeHart, seen in the above mug shot, then “accelerated from the parking lot.”

The hearse was recovered several hours later in the vicinity of DeHart’s home in the nearby borough of Beaver. A witness had called cops to report that a “very emotional” DeHart “had just pulled up to his residence…and that the defendant had been operating a black hearse.”

The corpse, which had been laying inside a gurney in the hearse, “had been moved by some means and was laying on its side,” reported Detective Jamie Blume. The deceased was an 85-year-old woman.

When officers confronted DeHart early yesterday at her home, she reportedly confessed to boosting the hearse. DeHart, who celebrated her birthday Monday, told investigators that she had engaged in a verbal argument with her girlfriend and exited the vehicle in which they were traveling early Tuesday morning.

As she began walking, DeHart said she “observed the hearse running next to the funeral parlor. She advised that after taking the car, she drove it to Beaver” and contacted a friend seeking advice as to what she should do with the stolen wheels.

Charged with grand larceny and displacement of a dead body, both felonies, DeHart was booked into jail this afternoon. She is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. (4 pages)