Green Bay man steals guitar from corpse, local musicians not amused
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There’s nobody quite like Jim Stingl, the Journal Sentinel’s resident “musin’s and thinkin’s” columnist. If you’re unfamiliar with Stingl and his “In My Opinion” columns, you’re missing out on a wonderful world of folksy, down-home stories about reunited siblings, mail-order lemon trees, and Brett Favre lookalikes. But the story Stingl managed to, er, dig up for his latest column is a real doozy: It seems a Green Bay cemetery worker named Steven W. Conrad pilfered a $2,000 Fender Telecaster from the casket of a dead man. The axe was scheduled to be buried along with its deceased owner, and Conrad felt it was “too expensive to be in a crypt.” Stingl writes:
This happened at the Allouez Catholic Cemetery and Chapel Mausoleum. That’s the final resting place of Randall Jourdan, who died Sept. 19. The Oneida man was 67. His family said he often mentioned he wanted to be entombed with his favorite guitar these past 40 years.
Conard, who plays in a band when he’s not working as grounds superintendent at the cemetery, was informed by the funeral director about the cream-colored guitar. Conard reportedly told a co-worker—someone he mistakenly assumed would not report him—that he had to have the Telly. “It’s too expensive to be in a crypt,” is how he put it.
Later, the guitar was indeed missing from the casket in its mausoleum chamber. Brown County sheriff’s deputies found it at Conard’s house. The cemetery placed him on unpaid leave.
Yikes. But instead of simply sending the story off into a “Weird News” purgatory, Stingl went the extra mile and interviewed local musicians about the ghastly crime. Among those musicians was guitarist Greg Koch, who helpfully added that the story was “just weird.”
“One Telecaster, out of all of them, going into the dirt nap is not really the end of the world. He (Conard) needs to get over it,” said Koch, who performs with the Greg Koch Trio and other musicians and does clinics and shows for Fender.
So there you have it: a much-needed local angle on a Green Bay grave robbing story. We doff our proverbial caps to you, Jim Stingl. Who says investigative journalism is dead and buried?