Police release photos of alleged funeral home burglar

The NOPD is asking for the public's help in identifying a man wanted in connection with the burglary of a Treme funeral home.

The incident occurred Thursday at Charbonnet Funeral Home on St. Philip Street. A hearse stolen in the burglary was recovered Friday at the intersection of Prytania Street and Jackson Avenue, according to New Orleans police spokesman Officer Frank Robertson III.

Police said a man entered the business through a back door at 9:45 p.m. Once inside, he stole cash and electronics. In addition, a 2002 black Cadillac hearse with Michigan license plate CE66293 was stolen and another hearse was broken into.

"I left the desk about 9:42," said owner Louis Charbonnet. "We looked at our tape and this guy appeared at the front desk at 9:45, so within a few minutes I could have been shot or beat up. Something bad could have happened to me."

Detectives are reviewing the surveillance video.

"He went by and viewed a few bodies," Charbonnet said of the robber. "He walked by one particular famous guy we have in here, and he stopped and visited with him and went about his business of stealing. On one occasion, he hesitated to see if [the body] had any jewelry on his hands at that point."

The robber pulled out drawers and ripped apart offices that had petty cash. He stole four TVs, an organ and money, Charbonnet said. When he took what he wanted, he used a hearse as a getaway car.

Funeral Director Barbara Grinstead and others think it's somehow an inside job.

"He knew where the key was for the hearse, and two and two make four," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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