updated 6/21/2007 11:22:29 PM ET 2007-06-22T03:22:29

Police say a gravedigger stole body parts — including a skull and a thigh bone — from a broken casket at a church cemetery and took them home to make an ashtray.

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“While he was digging a grave, a casket was broken open, so (investigators) believe he took the body parts to make an ashtray and a pipe,” Police Lt. Kevin O’Brien told the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg.

Police discovered the theft when they went to his apartment Wednesday after his wife complained that her husband, Keith Chartrand, killed her dog. She said she found the body parts among his belongings.

Police charged Chartrand, 30, with removing a body from a grave and cruelty to animals.

Fitchburg District Court Judge Arthur Haley III ordered Chartrand held on $50,000 bail at a court hearing on Wednesday where Chartrand told the judge the charges against him was “bogus.”

Chartrand’s lawyer, Martin Maynard, did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press on Thursday.

The Rev. Edward Chalmers of St. Bernard’s Cemetery said he believed the remains probably were taken from an older part of the cemetery where many graves did not have vaults.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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