Alleged thief nabbed near Newton cemetery after car and urn stolen

NEWTON — After spotting a stolen car in Newton Wednesday, Surrey’s Auto Crime Target Team likely didn’t know the unusual scene they were about to stumble across.

Officers tailed a 43-year-old man they’d spotted in a stolen vehicle and saw him stop at the Valley View Funeral Home on 72nd Avenue.

They prepared to arrest him, assuming he was dumping the car.

But, no.

Police say the man then ran back to the car with a purse in his hand.

After following him for a few blocks, police arrested him.

In the stolen purse, they found an urn. It belonged to a woman, and in it was the cremated remains of her husband who had recently passed.

The suspect, police say, allegedly broke a window of a parked vehicle at the cemetery and stole the purse.

Michael Grant John Pritchard faces charges of possession of stolen property, possessing a break-in instrument, mischief, theft, unauthorized use of credit card data and dealing with identity documents without lawful excuse.

Turns out, Pritchard was also wanted on two outstanding warrants. 

“This incident just demonstrates that those who are involved in theft of vehicles are very often involved in additional criminal behaviour,” said Cpl. Scotty Schumann. “We are very grateful that we were able to act swiftly to return the stolen items to the person who owned them. She was already going through a grieving period having just lost her husband.”