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Homeless man and woman charged in theft of funeral home van that had body inside

Homeless man and woman charged in theft of funeral home van that had body inside

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CLAYTON — A homeless man, and a woman with him, were charged Saturday in connection to a stolen funeral home van that had a body inside. 

Brian Schaake, 38, faces a felony charge of stealing a motor vehicle, and Christina Kalb, 31, faces a misdemeanor charge of tampering with a motor vehicle, according to court records.  

Officials said both of them had the same address in the 2600 block of Glenwood Avenue, in Springfield, Illinois, but that Schaake may be homeless.

Kalb was released from custody, officials said. Schaake was being held Saturday on $40,000 cash bond.  

In a probable cause statement, St. Louis County Police detective Scott Russell said Schaake likely wouldn’t show up in court because his last address was out of state and he was believed to be homeless.

The detective wrote that Schaake “poses a danger to the community or to any other person because he continued to occupy the stolen vehicle after observing the vehicle was transporting a deceased subject.” 

The funeral home van was stolen Thursday from a QuikTrip gas station at 12110 Lusher Road, in the Spanish Lake area of unincorporated St. Louis County. The incident soon captured the attention of the region.

The van, belonging to William C. Harris Funeral Home, was left unattended with the engine running when two people climbed inside and took off, actions that were caught on surveillance video, police said.

On Friday, a witness reported seeing the van parked at a Walmart in Festus. Schaake and Kalb were arrested inside the store without incident. According to court records, Schaake admitted to stealing the van with Kalb. The body in the van was recovered. 

Schaake and Kalb could not be reached for comment Saturday. 

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