Grave robbers took Charlie Chaplin’s body
In one of history’s most famous cases of body-snatching, two men steal the corpse of the revered film actor Sir Charles Chaplin from a cemetery in the Swiss village of Corsier-sur-Vevey, located in the hills above Lake Geneva, near Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1978.
A comic actor who was perhaps most famous for his alter ego, the Little Tramp, Chaplin was also a respected filmmaker whose career spanned Hollywood’s silent film era and the momentous transition to “talkies” in the late 1920s.
Chaplin died on Christmas Day in 1977, at the age of 88. Two months later, his body was stolen from the Swiss cemetery, sparking a police investigation and a hunt for the culprits.
After Chaplin’s widow, Oona, received a ransom demand of some $600,000, police began monitoring her phone and watching 200 phone kiosks in the region. Oona had refused to pay the ransom, saying that her husband would have thought the demand “ridiculous.”
After a five-week investigation, police arrested two auto mechanics–Roman Wardas, of Poland, and Gantscho Ganev, of Bulgaria–who on May 17 led them to Chaplin’s body, which they had buried in a cornfield about one mile from the Chaplin family’s home in Corsier. That December, Wardas and Ganev were convicted of grave robbing and attempted extortion.
As for Chaplin, his family reburied his body in a concrete grave to prevent future theft attempts.
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Posted by Staff at Wednesday, August 26, 2015