The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 29, 2010

Police: Man stole from boy’s casket

HILLSDALE — A 37-year-old man has been charged with desecrating the casket of an 11th-grader by reaching in and stealing two handheld video systems and three games.

Jody Lynn Bennett of Mentcle was arrested and jailed Wednesday.

State police in Indiana said Bennett stole the goods about 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Rairigh Funeral Home. Viewing for Bradley D. McCombs Jr. of Clymer had been scheduled to conclude at 9.

McCombs died Christmas morning in Cherryhill Township when he lost control of the SUV he was driving on a snowy road and struck a utility pole.

The boy’s uncle, Robert McCombs Jr., approached Bennett after Bennett got in his vehicle and was about to drive away.

He asked Bennett about a missing Game Boy.

“The defendant told the uncle that he did not have the Game Boy,” according to the affidavit of probable cause.

“The uncle then told the defendant that he could see the Game Boy inside the vehicle. The defendant then produced the Game Boy and returned it to the uncle.”

As that video system was being returned to the casket, family members noticed that a Game Boy Light and three games were missing.

Upon returning home, the boy’s father, Bradley D. McCombs, called Bennett on the phone but Bennett told him not to call again.

Neither Bradley nor Robert McCombs returned a call for comment Wednesday.

The value of the stolen goods was placed at $46.90.

Bennett faces misdemeanor counts of desecration, theft or sale of venerated objects; abuse of a corpse; institutional vandalism; theft; receiving stolen property; disorderly conduct and harassment.

A criminal records check indicates Bennett has a history of drinking and drug offenses dating to 2000.

Dianna Bennett said her nephew has caused embarrassment to the family.

Her family is close friends with the parents of the deceased 17-year-old.

Jody Bennett “has been into drugs, he’s into alcohol,” she told The Associated Press.

“He’s just messed up.”

He was being held in the Indiana County Jail in lieu of $15,000 straight cash bail set by District Judge Susanne Steffee of Homer City.

Rairigh Funeral Home declined comment for this story.

Bradley McCombs Jr. – who also was known by the nicknames “Boog” and “Ham” – was remembered as a football player and a member of Future Farmers of America. His hobbies included playing video games, collecting mythical creatures, drawing and hunting.

 

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