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ELSBERRY, Mo. – A creepy crime is under investigation in Lincoln County. A man died, a group of thieves found out, and detectives said the suspects walked past the man’s body to ransack his property. Tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of property were ripped off.

When residents heard about the crime they were thunderstruck and could not believe people would be so cruel. Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Harrell said a man his 60s lived in a home near Elsberry and died in his car in the detached garage. Word spread quickly among thieves.

“Once the information got out within that group of people that they took full advantage of the situation and ransacked both properties, in fact, for anything they could find of value,” Harrell said.

The dead man’s other home not far from Old Monroe. The victim was a recluse and estranged from his family and could have been dead for months.

“That’s pretty low, low, can’t get any lower than that,” said Matt Kasa, who lives down the road from the victim.

Detectives believe more than two dozen people took part in all the thefts for weeks. Six of those suspects knew they were passing the dead man’s body to take his stuff.

“Often times we run into cases that are shocking, man’s inhumanity to man, and this is one of those cases,” Harrell said.

Investigators have a good idea who the man is but have not positively confirmed his identity. The cause of death has not been determined.

“Throw (the thieves) jail and let them think about what they’re doing to people,” Kasa said.

Elsberry Police recently made a traffic stop and learned the vehicle had been stolen from the dead man. They went to the home and discovered the body in another car.