"Cemetery collector" with 29 bodies arrested

MOSCOW Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:22am EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police have arrested a man described by local media as the "cemetery collector" for digging up 29 corpses and dressing the remains in female clothing to display around his flat.

Grainy police video images of the man's cramped flat showed what look like several life-sized female dolls without faces, some with platinum blond wigs.

"During a search of his flat and garage, 29 self-made, life-size dolls dressed in the clothes of buried people were found," a spokesman for police in Nizhny Novgorod, 400 km (250 miles) east of Moscow, said Tuesday.

"It was ascertained that he used mummified human bodies from graves to make them (the dolls)."

Police described the man, who was arrested following the desecration of graves in the area, as a local historian and an expert in the study of place names.

Media cited friends as saying they had never seen the dolls and that he was a learned, if eccentric, man.

(Reporting By Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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