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Hearse Thief Thwarted By Unpaid Hamburger

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Photo courtesy of Kimble County Jail

The Kimble County Sheriff's Office nabbed a criminal mastermind who tried to put his own “fun” in “funeral.” Omar Alejandro Gutierrez, 19, was arrested Tuesday in Junction after admitting to police that he stole a hearse intended for a funeral procession in San Antonio.

The theft took place January 28 at El Divino Salvador United Methodist Church on the corner of  W. Woodlawn Avenue and Zarzamora Street. Funeral services were being conducted for Elvira Vasquez, a former Sunday school teacher at the church.

Gutierrez seized the opportunity to steal the 2009 Cadillac hearse, owned by Roy Akers Funeral Home, when it was left unoccupied with the engine running to keep the interior warm.

“As we were coming out the front doors with the coffin behind me to depart for the cemetery, I looked toward the street and noticed the hearse was gone, thinking maybe someone was turning it around or something,” said El Divino Salvador’s Reverend Gil Paredez.

It was then a Roy Akers employee informed him that the hearse was stolen. Off-duty police escorts that were to accompany the procession were having breakfast across the street at Crystal’s Cafe while funeral services were taking place and did not witness the theft, according to Paredez. A replacement hearse arrived at the church 20 minutes later.

Attendees were more surprised than angered that the hearse was stolen, because seriously, who has the audacity to steal a hearse during a funeral? Vasquez’s surviving family members took the ordeal in stride.

“I bet Mom had someone come and take it, because she doesn't want to leave. She was a prankster,” said Bobby Vasquez, son of the deceased.

Whether supernatural forces were involved in the theft has not been determined by investigators.

After driving off with the vehicle, valued at $69,000, Gutierrez embarked on somewhat of a criminal spree. He was apprehended 100 miles north of San Antonio after he drove off from a restaurant without paying for his hamburger.

Gutierrez’s odyssey teaches future thieves two lessons. If you’re going to steal a hearse during a funeral, pack a lunch. And if you’re going to dine-and-dash, don’t do it in such a conspicuous vehicle.

Gutierrez was charged with theft of a vehicle. He is being held in Kimball County and is awaiting transfer to San Antonio.

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