ALLOUEZ, Wis. – A grounds superintendent at a Green Bay area cemetery has been accused of stealing a $2,000 guitar from the casket of a man who died recently.
WLUK-TV reported Steve Conard, 39, was charged Monday with theft of moveable property from a corpse.
The dead man's family confirmed the Fender Telecaster guitar was in the casket Thursday afternoon, when it was being moved from the funeral home to the Allouez Catholic Cemetery's mausoleum, according to Brown County sheriff's investigators.
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.
The suspicious employee looked in the casket Friday morning, and the guitar was missing.
During questioning on Saturday, Conard told investigators, "This isn't something I normally do; I just have a respect for fine musical instruments," according to sheriff's department.
Deputies found the guitar in his home, the department said.
The suspect's employer, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, said the man is on unpaid leave pending the result of the criminal investigation.
The guitar was returned to the family and the man and his guitar were entombed in a crypt in an interior mausoleum Saturday, diocese deacon Ray DuBois said.
No current listing could be found for Conard on Monday, and no attorney was listed in online court records.