Hollywood star’s coffin stolen with ‘ridiculous’ cash demand made for return

The glitz and glam of Hollywood does not appear to carry over to the grave, as one Hollywood legend found their coffin pilfered.

Robbing the grave of Charlie Chaplin, the comedic legend who brought City Lights and Modern Times to the silent screen, proved "ridiculous" for a pair of crooks.

Stealing the body from Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, the body of a comedic hero for many was briefly missing as Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev made off with the corpse in the hopes of a cash reward.

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Chaplin, who died on Christmas Day 1977 at the age of 88, was stolen from his grave and a ransom of £500,000 was sent off to his family.

That figure, inflated in today's economy to £2million, proved troubling for Chaplin's family not because they could not pay it but because they found it to be a "ridiculous" price.

Police, who monitored hundreds of phone kiosks in the region near Lake Geneva, began their investigation after Chaplin's widow, Oona, had refused those aforementioned demands.

It took police five weeks of investigations to eventually bag two suspects, who were eventually charged with the theft of the Hollywood legend's body.

Wardas, from Poland, and Ganev, from Bulgaria, led police to the body, which they had buried in a cornfield a mile away from Chaplin's former home.

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Both men were convicted of grave robbing and attempted extortion, with the pair admitting to stealing the body as a way of trying to solve their financial difficulties, History reported.

Wardas was considered the mastermind of the plot to nick the body of The Great Dictator star and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years of hard labour.

Ganev received a suspended sentence of 18 months as he was believed to have had limited responsibility in the lead-up and fallout of the grave robbing.

It pushed the Chaplin family to their limit though, as the family decided that the best way to fend off future grave robbers was to entomb the comedy legend in a concrete grave.

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