A Chevy Trailblazer along with a U-Haul trailer was stolen from the parking lot of an Albuquerque Residence Inn on Monday, with the body of a man in a casket stored inside. While the thieves most likely thought the trailer contained something valuable to them, they were found to have ditched the trailer a short distance down the street with its precious content still inside.

According to Albuquerque Police, a couple was taking the trailer from Oklahoma – with the remains of a deceased relative inside – to San Juan County in New Mexico, where they planned to bury the body of the wife’s father-in-law.

They had stopped over at the Residence Inn for the night.

Trailer found a short distance away with casket intact

As stated by Officer Tanner Tixier, thieves “unfortunately and grotesquely” stole the vehicle and U-Haul trailer from the hotel’s parking lot, containing the casket. Tixier said obviously the vehicle owner’s wife was very emotional over the body of her father being stolen.

As reported by KOB 4, it probably hadn’t taken long for the thieves to uncover their mistake. Police said they received a call about the missing vehicle and trailer on Monday morning and around four hours later it was found.

It had been left in the parking lot of the nearby Puerto Del Sol Golf Course. Tixier confirmed that the vehicle and its trailer with the casket inside were found safe and sound.

Hotel employee saw vehicle theft happen

Tixier went on to explain that an employee at the Residence Inn saw what he believed to be a vehicle being stolen.

The employee went on to say he believed he had seen the people responsible for the crime and that a red Chevy Silverado pickup had been involved. Tixier added that deputies had also been involved in a chase with a red Silverado earlier in the day, which had reportedly also been stolen. At that time the suspects had almost crashed into a patrol car during the police chase.

Police have since confirmed that all three suspects involved in that incident were also involved in the theft of the U-Haul trailer.

An unusual crime for the Albuquerque area

While crime in the area surrounding the golf course is relatively common, something like the current theft is pretty much unheard of. KRQE quotes Camille Ruggiero as saying she was, however, surprised, as a casket is normally transported by a mortuary and not in a U-Haul. Albuquerque police did agree that a theft involving a casket with body inside is something new, but Tixier went on to say that finding the U-Haul trailer has, at least, given the family closure. He said they can now get back to grieving and burying their loved one.

The three suspects are in custody but have not yet been charged, pending an investigation into the crime.