March 1, 1978 - It was on this day that Charlie Chaplin’s coffin and corpse was stolen. The famous comic actor and filmmaker had died in his sleep on Christmas Day, 1977.
The grave robbers dug up Chaplin from a Swiss cemetery in an ill-conceived plot to extort money. To prove they were the real thieves, they sent a photograph of the muddy coffin to Chaplin’s widow, Oona. If she wanted to get her dead husband back, she would have to pay $600,000. Oona refused the offer so the bad guys dropped the bid to $250,000.
Meanwhile, the police had set surveillance teams to watch over all 200 of the pay phones in the city of Lausanne. That’s where they caught the unemployed auto mechanic and his cohort who were behind the plot. The two men were found guilty and carted off to prison.
Chaplin’s coffin was retrieved from a cornfield near Lake Geneva and reburied under 6 feet of concrete.