A man accused of breaking into the Indiana Medical History Museum multiple times last year to steal organs has been caught, thanks to an eBay buyer who became suspicious of his newly acquired brains.
21-year old David Charles allegedly sold six jars full of grey matter to a San Diego man via eBay for $600 (plus $70 shipping), and the buyer thought something was up when he received them and found suspicious labels on the containers. Indeed, they had been lifted from the museum, which was once the site of Central State Hospital. Until 1994, the facility was available to patients suffering from mental disorders.
Perhaps the most incredible part of the story is that police had to set up a sting in a parking lot to catch Charles, who brought an armed friend with him. Charles had used a middleman to set up the eBay deal, so officers had that person arrange a meeting that turned dangerous when the unnamed friend reached for his gun. No one was harmed, and Charles was arrested and charged with theft, marijuana possession and paraphernalia possession. Additional charges may be brought at a later date. As for the original buyer of the brains? He just likes to collect odd things.
"It's horrid anytime a museum collection is robbed," museum director Mary Ellen Hennessey Nottage said. "A museum's mission is to hold these materials as cultural and scientific objects in the public interest. To have that disturbed — to have that broken — is extraordinarily disturbing to those of us in the museum field."
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