Authorities say an embalmer at a Lakewood funeral home found a creepy way to make some cash: pawning the gold teeth of the dead.
Adrian Kline, 43, of Brighton, has been indicted on eight counts of providing false information to a pawn broker, two counts of doing the same to a secondhand dealer and one count of theft. According to the indictment, he told the pawn shops that he owned the gold teeth.
Kline worked at Aspen Mortuaries in Lakewood as a contract embalmer, the indictment says. The mortuary's employees told police that Kline worked alone and that he had access to the crematorium and the room where the deceased are kept.
Last September, the Longmont police got a call from Longmont's EZ Pawn with a tip that Kline "was making suspicious pawns involving gold teeth." The police began investigating and found that between May and November, he sold dental gold to pawn shops or secondhand dealers a total of seventeen times, receiving anywhere from $20 to $800, depending on the weight of the gold. In filling out the paperwork required to complete a pawn of personal property, Kline listed his old address and said he owned the teeth.
Kline admitted to the police that he'd pawned the gold. At first, he said he took the gold teeth out of the trash at Aspen Mortuaries, which he said discarded metal items recovered from cremated remains. But not all of the teeth came from the funeral home, he said. Some, he said, came from his stepfather, who was a dentist.
As for lying to the pawn shops, he said he gave his old address because he was "embarrassed by his actions and wanted to protect Aspen Mortuaries."
But the third time Kline spoke to police, he told them that the gold teeth "did not go through the cremation process" and furthermore, that they did not come from someone's mouth. According to the indictment, he declined to elaborate.
Mortuary employees told police that dental gold recovered from cremated remains was routinely recycled and the money used to fund the mortuary's pro bono work. Kline did not have permission to take any items from the recycle bin, they said. They added that the deceased's mouths are sewn shut during the embalming process and if any teeth had been removed prior, "it would not be detectable to anyone."
Kline has posted bond, which was set at $2,500. For more details on the case, check out this story from the Longmont Times-Call. See a larger version of his booking photo and read the indictment below.
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