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October 23, 2009

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Arrest made in morbid case

A HENAN Province man has been arrested on charges he stole six urns in an attempt to extort money from cemetery workers in Shanghai's Qingpu District, prosecutors said yesterday.

The district's prosecutors' office charged the suspect surnamed Wang with attempted extortion because he was caught before receiving the ransom.

On August 27, staff of a cemetery in Qingpu found that five graves had been prized open and six urns were missing. A note was on each grave.

The note left a cell phone number so that they could recover the urns. The cemetery staff reported to police immediately while pretending to negotiate with the suspect using text messages. Wang eventually agreed to return the urns for 6,000 yuan (US$878), prosecutors said.

An investigation led police to suspect Wang and they searched for him online.

As Wang was sending messages to cemetery staff on September 7 from Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, he was caught by police there.

Wang told prosecutors he needed money. He said his wife was very ill last year and that her treatment was expensive. After his wife died in July, he thought up the scam to get money by stealing urns, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said he traveled to Shanghai and found the cemetery in Qingpu. Wang hid the urns near the cemetery and then returned to Zhengzhou.

He didn't think he would be caught once he left the city.


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