Police say a Spokane man had an unusual reaction to his grandfather’s death: grand theft.
Anthony S. Jungen, 19, was ordered held Tuesday at the Spokane County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail on theft allegations that border on the macabre.
Police say Jungen found his grandfather dead early Monday after forcing his way into the man’s east central Spokane home. But instead of contacting authorities, Jungen left the corpse where it was and allegedly stole the man’s wallet and car before returning to the house a while later to load up some video games and a coin collection as well.
Relatives learned of the thefts later in the day and contacted police.
Jungen buried his head in his arms and cried during his first appearance Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court.
“I’m not quite sure what’s going on with Mr. Jungen,” said Judge Michael Price before setting his bail at $5,000.
Jungen’s family could not be reached for comment, and jail employees did not respond to a request to interview the suspect.
Detectives say that before he died, Jungen’s grandfather, Garry L. Murphy, had told Jungen not to return to his home.
Jungen’s public defender, John Whaley, said Jungen hoped to be released from jail on his own recognizance so he could attend his grandfather’s funeral, but Price said bail was necessary.
“I’m sorry for his loss, but he’s not getting the message,” Price said.
Jungen told police he discovered his grandfather dead after forcing open the door to his home at 624 E. Walton Ave., about 3 a.m. Monday, then took his wallet and car keys from his pants pocket and drove away in the car, according to court documents.
He returned three hours later with his younger sister and allegedly stole Murphy’s coin collection and a video games console and games. He also stole his grandfather’s commemorative knife, police said.
An autopsy on Tuesday confirmed Murphy died of natural causes.
Police say the suspect had more than $250 on him when he was arrested, “which he acknowledged were the proceeds of his thefts from his grandfather’s house,” according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Spokane police Detective Brian Hamond.