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Highland man allegedly steals neighbor's ashes

October 12, 2011 |  1:42 pm

A San Bernardino County man was in custody Wednesday for allegedly stealing a neighbor's cremated remains.

Joseph Manning Slater, 24, of Highland was arrested Tuesday and booked in lieu of $25,000 bail.

The case began Sunday night when Arthur Pauly, who lives on the same street as Slater, returned from work to find his home burglarized and a television, computer and jewelry box missing.

Most importantly, the two urns containing the ashes of his deceased wife, Ann Pauly, were gone.

She died last month of a heart attack and her memorial service is scheduled Saturday, Pauly said.

“My head was just spinning,” Pauly said Thursday by telephone. “I couldn’t believe it — that she was gone again. With her ashes here, I felt like she was with me.”

The story of the theft appeared in TV news reports Monday, and later that morning a neighbor saw Slater walking with one of the urns, Pauly said.

Slater had not realized he had stolen his neighbor's remains and apparently panicked when he saw the TV news, Pauly said.

The neighbor confronted Slater, who ran away, but Slater’s uncle later returned the urn to the neighbor, who gave it to Pauly.

Slater is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Still missing, however, is a second urn containing a small amount of Ann Pauly’s ashes that Pauly said was intended for his 40-year-old son, a U.S. Navy petty officer, just home from nine years in Iraq.

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— Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

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