Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Funeral parlor employee ‘steals’ from dead teacher

DPA , TAIPEI

Police arrested a funeral parlor worker who stole cash and jewelry from a dead American teacher, a newspaper said yesterday.

Chen Chien-feng (陳健豐) was arrested on Monday for stealing NT$3,700 (US$100) and jewelry from the home of Sandy Richard Puckett, a 60-year-old math teacher at the Taipei American School (TAS), while removing Puckett's body on Monday morning, the Chinese-language China Times said.

The paper said Puckett, a resident in Taipei for 18 years, was found dead on Monday morning at his home by a caretaker, who then called police.

Police arrived at Puckett's home and determined he could have died two days earlier from heart disease. As Puckett had no family in Taiwan, police notified a colleague of Puckett's.

The colleague said that when he visited Puckett's home on Monday morning, he saw some money in his wallet. But when he returned to Puckett's home in the afternoon, the money was gone.

He suspected a police officer might have taken away the money, so he told the police about the missing money.

A police investigation showed that Chen, a funeral parlor worker, had stolen the money, as well as six gold rings and some jewelry from Puckett's home.

Prosecutor Wang Yi-wen (王以文) said he was happy the thief had been caught. Otherwise, Puckett's colleague would have believed that a police officer had committed the theft, and the image of the police would have been tarnished, Wang said.

Puckett was a math teacher in TAS' middle school. He was born in Virginia and had served with the Peace Corp in Lesotho.

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