Crook steals hearse... with body inside.


A hearse with a body inside was stolen in Atlanta.

Atlanta police spokesman Officer Ralph Woolfolk said authorities believe the hearse was stolen at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Police say the front end of the vehicle was smashed because the carjacker drove through the fence at the entrance to the morgue at the hospital.

The vehicle was deserted a few blocks away at 171 Auburn Ave.

Police identified the suspect as 34-year-old Henry Lyles.

Police say the Ford Flex hearse from Willie A. Watkins Funeral home was taken by force just before 10 a.m. Sunday at the hospital. Police say Lyles snatched the keys from the driver, but never showed a gun. He took off and drove through a fence. He then drove the hearse a few blocks before ditching it.

He then tried to take another car, but that driver sped off.

Lyles then stole a gold Ford Explorer that pulled up behind the hearse at the stoplight, police say.

A witness said Lyles forced the driver of the Explorer out of the vehicle.

"He walked to the truck and was talking to the driver and got out, walked to passenger side and just took off,” a witness told Gehlbach.

The funeral home took the hearse to remove the body from the back and place into another vehicle.

Funeral home owner Willie Watkins was in Miami celebrating his daughter's graduation when his brother Darryl Watkins called him about the stolen hearse.

“It’s just, when you think about it, even the dead cannot rest in peace,” said Willie Watkins.

Officers were able to catch Lyles in Douglas County and recovered both vehicles.