Van Stolen with 12 Coffins, 12 Bodies Inside

The van was stolen when the driver went inside for a few minutes to wash his hands.

By Julie Strickland
|  Thursday, Oct 18, 2012  |  Updated 10:59 AM PDT
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Several vans (not the one shown in this photo) were stolen in Germany on Sunday.

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German thieves picked up more than they bargained for in a heist just outside Berlin Sunday night when they stole three vans — one of which was loaded with 12 coffins, complete with corpses.

The cargo, en route to a crematorium in Meissen, Saxony, disappeared from an industrial parking lot while the van's driver was inside washing his hands, reported the German news website The Local.

"The driver did everything right," a company spokesman told German newspaper Die Welt, adding that he had even locked the van before walking away.

"We have not found the bodies yet," police spokesman Peter Salender told NBC News.

He added that one of the other vans had been recovered in Poland. A spokesman for the Frankfurt am Oder state prosecutor's office said the case fit the profile of a string of recent van thefts and that the vehicles were probably destined for eastern Europe, reported the French newspaper Le Figaro (link in French).

"The perpetrators were probably not intending to steal 12 bodies," another spokesman for the prosecutor's office said.

The identity of one of the bodies was revealed Thursday when German newspaper Bild ran the headline "Car Thieves Stole My Mother's Body," NBC News reported.

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