Florida man steals coffins, driver failed to pull over.
Highway patrol arrested a man who was suspected of stealing a box truck full of caskets in Jacksonville, Florida on Monday.
Having been alerted to be on the lookout for a Ryder truck by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, which had been reported stolen from a Jacksonville casket company, Florida Highway Patrol located the vehicle shortly before noon on Monday. However, once a trooper ran tags on the truck, the driver failed to pull over and pressed ahead instead.
A 25-mile chase on Interstate 295 ensued, with police chasing the truck and eventually managing to halt it after it came off the interstate and stopped at a red light at the intersection between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and Moncrief Road.
Once they stopped the truck, troopers found out it was carrying a rather unusual load, which included three caskets.
“At first I was shocked to see the caskets because obviously when you think caskets, you think of someone’s loved one,” Sergeant Dylan Bryan with the Florida Highway Patrol told Fox News.
Once the truck was stopped, Florida Highway Patrol arrested the driver, who was later identified as David Ayers.
Despite being chased for over 20 miles, the 39-year-old never drove above the speed limit.
“He was not driving in an erratic manner,” Bryan added, explaining Ayers had been driving at around 55-60 miles per hour throughout.
Officers subsequently managed to unlock the caskets after using a tool they borrowed from a funeral home located a few blocks away from where the truck was stopped.
“Where the scene was, was actually two blocks from a funeral home so I walked down to the funeral home to obtain a funeral key, a tool to unlock and open funeral caskets,” Bryan continued.
He added that his colleagues “didn’t know what to expect” when they opened the caskets and “wanted to be respectful with those items” as they were unsure whether the caskets contained bodies.
However, the caskets were empty. They were not the only unusual item officers found in the truck, which was also carrying a payment collection machine belonging to a car wash.
“There could be anywhere from 20 bucks to several hundred bucks in quarters in those machines, depending on how often the owner will empty out those coins,” Bryan explained.
Florida Highway Patrol added Ayers probably “ripped out car wash vacuum machines out of the car wash to get the money out.”
Following the arrest, the suspect, who had two outstanding warrants, was charged with auto theft, fleeing and eluding an officer, and driving while license suspended or revoked.