Indiana man gets four-year sentence for stealing brains from museum, selling them
An Indiana man who admitted stealing human brain samples and other tissue from a medical museum and selling them received a four-year jail sentence Wednesday.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said that 21-year-old David Charles had pleaded guilty to burglary and had three years of his sentence suspended.
Curry said Charles admitted to breaking into the Indiana Medical History Museum several times in 2013 to steal jars of preserved tissue. He was arrested in December 2013 after a San Diego man who purchased about six jars of brain tissue on eBay for $600 alerted authorities.
The Indianapolis Star reported that Charles was arrested when authorities arranged a meeting between Charles and an eBay seller who provided the brain tissue to the San Diego buyer. Authorities said Charles stole 60 more jars of human tissue the day before the meeting.
Investigators matched a bloody fingerprint on a white piece of paper left at the crime scene to Charles. Fox 59 also reported that Charles tried to sell the tissue through his Facebook page. In one status update, dated Oct. 14, 2013, Charles wrote " yo I got a bunch of human brains in jars for sale [hit me up] for details u [sic] know u [sic] want one for Halloween."
As part of Charles' sentence, he is required to obtain a high school diploma or GED and will spend one year on home detention and two years on probation.
The museum is located on the site of the Central State Hospital, which treated patients with psychiatric and mental disorders between 1848 and 1994. The museum's director said at the time of the theft that the tissue came from autopsies conducted between the 1890s and 1940s.