Dozens of Thieves Ransack Home of Man Lying Dead Outside, Missouri Police Say

A man who died in his car and was left undiscovered for months had his home ransacked over weeks as thieves knowingly walked past his dead body.

The unidentified man, thought to have been aged in his 60s, died in his car in the detached garage of his home near Elsberry, Missouri.

Word spread quickly among thieves in the area, according to Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Harrell.

"Once the information got out within that group of people that they took full advantage of the situation and ransacked both properties, in fact, for anything they could find of value," Harrell told Fox2.

Detectives believe more than two dozen thieves took part in the robbery, taking off with tens of thousands of dollars' worth of property ripped from the home.

"At least six people walked by the body," Harrell told the St Louis Pos- Dispatch newspaper. "Everything on the property was up for grabs because the person was deceased so they started cleaning him out."

The stolen goods included vehicles, firearms and money, all valued in the tens of thousands, Harrell said.

It was only when Elsberry Police made a recent traffic stop and learned the vehicle had been stolen, that they discovered it belonged to the dead man when they found his body in another car at the property in mid-December.

Shocked residents of the rural area surrounding Fox Run Road spoke of their contempt for the thieves after finding out about the crime.

"That's pretty low, low, can't get any lower than that," neighbor Matt Kasa said. "Throw [the thieves] jail and let them think about what they're doing to people."

The dead man was said to have been a recluse and was estranged from his family, leading investigators to believe he could have been dead for months before he was finally discovered.

The man's identity has not yet been positively confirmed through an autopsy or DNA tests, though detectives believe they have a good idea who he is. A cause of death is yet to be determined.

Sheriff Harrell described the case as shocking and inhumane.

"Oftentimes we run into cases that are shocking, man's inhumanity to man, and this is one of those cases," he said.

Officers hope to make arrests and seek warrants in the coming weeks. The charges could include burglary, theft and possession of stolen property.

Newsweek has contacted the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office for comment.

Crime scene tape
File photo: Crime scene tape is seen after a shooting in Texas as detectives investigate the theft from the property of a man man who died in his car and was left undiscovered for months. Brendan Smialowski/Getty