As the family of 19-year-old Jonté Lee Reed paid their respects to him Saturday morning at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Los Angeles, a man hopped into the hearse and drove off with his casket still inside.

The incident happened Saturday morning around 11 a.m., as funeral director Kenneth Little went to arrange flowers. His wife Shirley Little kept the car running. It was then that the suspected mentally-ill man stole the hearse. Some of the family members were notified of the stolen vehicle and chased it down themselves.

Police were called and the man was taken into custody, according to a report by KTLA-5. Police told the station that the man would be charged with auto theft and have his mental condition evaluated.

Little said the hearse and casket were returned to the church a short time later and the funeral services took place. The body did not appear to be disturbed, she said.

Shirley Little told reporters she never experienced an incident like this in the church’s 75-year history.

“This is truly one for the books,” she said.

The hearse-jacking caused the service to go on 30 minutes late, but was described by Little as “nice.”


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