New York City medical examiner’s office employee cuffed for stealing designer bag from deceased person

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An employee at the city’s medical examiner’s office was arrested for allegedly stealing a a Louis Vuitton bag that belonged to a decedent whose body was in the care and custody of the medical examiner, officials announced on Tuesday.

Queens resident Trevor Rheams, 49, was arrested on Oct. 26 and charged with petit larceny and official misconduct. He has been employed as a motor vehicle operator by the Office of the Medical Examiner (OCME) since May 2007.

“OCME employees are trusted to handle difficult and sensitive work and their professionalism and integrity are of utmost importance. As charged, this City employee betrayed that trust when he used his access to a decedent’s home and personal belongings to steal a luxury bag,” DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber said. “I want to thank OCME for its immediate referral to DOI and its assistance on this matter, and our law enforcement partners, the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, for their swift work on this investigation.”

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 9 Rheams was allegedly assigned to drive an OCME vehicle to transport decedents to OCME headquarters in Manhattan. At the apartment, Rheams allegedly arrived with another OCME employee and an NYPD officer was on scene as well.

The officer’s body cam allegedly showed a Louis Vuitton bag in the kitchen. Rheams was allegedly left alone in the apartment for a period of time and his colleague reportedly did not see Rheams while he sealed the body bag.

The next day, another OMCE employee cleaned and inspected the vehicle assigned to Rheams and allegedly found a pillowcase with a Louis Vuitton bag with a tag bearing the same last name as the decedent inside on the passenger-side floor.

Rheams was released on his own recognizance and is due to return to court on Jan. 10, 2023. Rheams has been on modified duty since Aug. 10. If convicted, Rheams faces up to one year in prison for both of these offenses.

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