Man stole jewellery from corpses

A BALLINA funeral home has dismissed speculation it's involved in the case of an undertaker who's allegedly been stealing jewels from the dead.

At about 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon police arrested a 66-year-old co-owner of a Ballina funeral home business and he was charged with four counts of larceny and two counts of goods in custody.

Funeral director Scott Steenson, regional manager for Ballina's Kevin Geaghan Funerals, said on Thursday his firm had no knowledge of the allegations.

"As the largest funeral director in Ballina, Kevin Geaghan Funerals has been receiving a significant volume of inquiries about the issue," Mr Steenson said in a statement.

"Although we cannot comment on this case as we have no specific knowledge about the allegations, we encourage families to ensure that their chosen funeral director is a member of the Australian Funeral Directors Association and thus bound to provide them with a professional service."

Police allege they were handed a large amount of jewellery in September which were allegedly taken from a number of corpses before their burial or cremation at the funeral home.

Police then conducted a search of the home and seized a number of files in relation to the funerals conducted there. It is not known how long the alleged thefts could have been occurring.

Four families who had deceased relatives use the funeral home have identified several items of jewellery. In each case, it was the relatives wish that the jewelry be buried or cremated with their loved one.

The funeral home director has been conditionally bailed and he will appear at Ballina Local Court on January 20, 2011.

Meanwhile, police have a large amount of jewellery and are appealing to families who have had a relative use the funeral home to contact the Ballina Police Station via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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