Teeth Thief Hits Graves of Great Composers

Graves of Strauss and Brahms raided by denture thief.

ByABC News
July 3, 2012, 7:54 AM

July 3, 2012— -- Dentures of two of the world's most famous composers have allegedly been stolen from their graves by a Slovak man who boasts of his crimes on YouTube saying he intends to use the purloined choppers to start a museum.

Ondrej Jajcaj, the self confessed thief, says the teeth he extracted from the tombs of the famous 19th century composers Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms will be part of an exhibition of hundreds of objects plundered from more ordinary graves.

The man was identified in Austrian media reports simply by his initials, O.J. But a search on the internet reveals Ondrej Jajcaj, who calls himself the Freedom Undertaker, taking his internet viewers on a tour of "graves of honor" in the Viennese Central Cemetery, saying that someone has opened the crypts, pointing out fresh dirt uncovered around the tombs.

In one video Jajcaj gives a tour of his macabre collection of stolen teeth and at one point narrates: "And now, we come to the major pedestal. On the top are the teeth of Johann Strauss Jr. To the left there are dentures of his wife Adele Strauss. To the right, we have rubber prosthesis of Johannes Brahms. Here, I, as an amateur have managed to build illegal historical collection of dental works."

In 2008, cemetery officials reported that some graves had been tampered with. As a result, Jajcaj was investigated by Vienna prosecutors for "disturbing the peace of the dead," but they dropped the case because the statute of limitations had run out.

Austrian police have again learned of the dastardly dental work when the alleged grave robber released videos bragging about his thefts.

Austrian cops started an investigation in May and they found the claims on the video were true, the famous musicians' teeth had been removed.

The thief could be facing from six months up to 10 years of prison, claims Thomas Vecsey of the Vienna state prosecutor's office. "We hope we can charge him with burglary, disturbing the peace of the dead and other related crimes," he told ABC News. "But the fact that he is not Austrian and does not reside in Austria, complicates things."

He also said that the thefts took place in 2002, which may make them too old to prosecute.

The Federal Criminal Police Office, the Austrian equivalent of the FBI, is checking other graves in the cemetery of such great Viennese composers as Ludwig von Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Arnold Schoenberg.

Strauss was known as "The Waltz King." His "Blue Danube" has been used in various stage productions, movies, TV shows and cartoons. It is probably the world's most famous waltz. Although it was very different in style, Brahms' music is just as popular and esteemed. Every night his "Lullaby" is sung to millions of children at bedtime.

The two men were close friends are their crypts are next to each other.

The Central Viennese graveyard that is the scene of the crime is also legendary. World famous composers and other well-known figures are buried there and it is a tourist attraction. The 71 tram that goes there is so well known that in Vienna when someone has passed away it is said they have "taken the number 71 tram."