Monday, Jun 25, 2018
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Lids once used for cadavers stolen from UT's art department


Tom Lingeman, art professor at the University of Toledo, and UT student Kristin Evans look at stainless-steel hoods that thieves left alone at UT's Center for Sculptural Studies. Someone recently cut through a fence and stole four of the hoods, originally used for cadavers.

The Blade/Dave Zapotovsky
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Somewhere, someone has a few stainless-steel lids for cadaver beds lying around.

At least four lids were reported stolen from the University of Toledo Center for Sculptural Studies on Monday afternoon after a fence surrounding the central-city property was found to have been pried open.

Tom Lingeman, a professor of art who specializes in sculpture, said the stainless-steel lids -- more than 80 were left behind -- were to be used in a student art project.

Weighing 25 to 30 pounds each, the lids were donated in June by the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, said Dr. Richard Lane, co-director of the body donation program.

Dr. Lane said program officials realized several years ago that cadavers -- used by medical students for their course work -- would be better preserved if kept in body bags.

The lids were fastened to the tables with latches underneath but, on occasion, the lids would unlatch and blast someone in the shin, Dr. Lane said.

Officials at the university decided to remove the lids this year, and opted to donate the materials to the sculptural studies program.

"When they told me we were getting these, I thought we won the lottery," Mr. Lingeman said.

Stainless steel is worth about 58 cents per pound as scrap metal.

On that basis, four missing lids would fetch between $58 and $70 if the thief -- or thieves -- chose to sell them.

Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said that, by law, scrapyard operators are required to take names and copies of sellers' photo identification, so if the lids turn up, police should be able to find a suspect.

"If someone brought in a cadaver hood, I'd hope that if a scale operator saw that it was a cadaver hood, that they would question it or try to obtain some proof of ownership," the sergeant said.

Dr. Lane said he was happy to hear so many of the lids were left untouched by the thieves, adding that if the art students do make something from the stainless steel, it could be used to "celebrate the many donors that have contributed over the years to the education of medical students."

"I'm just relieved there's still a significant amount of them left," Dr. Lane said.

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