Patricia Woodford stole ring from a corpse during funeral visitation

Patricia Woodford doesn't like to see a good piece of jewelery go to waste.

At least that's what she told police when they busted her for stealing a ring from an acquaintance's corpse this summer.

Woodford, a 55-year-old from Eau Claire, Wisc., pleaded guilty to theft from a corpse charges for swiping the ring from Gladys Patton's cold, dead finger in late August. She was sentenced yesterday to 15 days in jail and a year of probation.

According to the Dunn County Attorney's Office, Patton's daughter first noticed the ring was missing at a viewing just before the body was to be transported to Fort Snelling for burial.

Woodford was the obvious suspect. She had been remarking about wanting the ring, and that it would be a waste for it to be put in the ground. Woodford was also the last person to be with the body at the funeral home the evening of the visitation.

When police confronted Woodford, she first denied she knew anything about a ring, but quickly gave in. From the criminal complaint:

She advised the took the ring because she felt that Gladys had treated the defendant's brother, Michael, poorly and she was angry at Gladys for that. She also advised that it seemed like a waste for that ring to be buried with the body so she took the ring out of spite for Gladys.

In court, Woodford apologized to the family for taking the jewelery, according to the Associated Press, but Patton's daughter was not happy when the court reduced her charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The ring was eventually returned to Patton's daughter, but not in time to bury it with her, which was Patton's wish.

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