'I Stole the Safe:' Man Confesses to Crimes, Mischief in His Obituary

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on July 20, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

An obituary is one of the last chances to get any confessions off your chest and Val Patterson took advantage of it.

The 59-year-old Utah man passed away July 10 but he wrote his own obituary last fall. In it he details his love for his wife, his regret that smoking cut his life short, and also comes clean about questionable activities.

He had some important advice for others, such as this gem: "If you want to live forever, then don't stop breathing, like I did."

The first-person account of his life started out serious but Patterson made some surprising revelations about his past.

It turns out Patterson was a thief - he DID steal the safe from Motor View Drive Inn in 1971, reports KSL.com.

Not only that, he admits to antagonizing a park ranger and potentially disobeying national park regulations at a park that sounds a lot like Yellowstone. He also faked earning a PhD which was sent to him through a clerical error.

It looks like despite his confession, Patterson has escaped the long arm of the law for his antics.

Criminal and civil claims generally have a statute of limitations on when complaints can be filed. Most last for a few years and then expire after which no complaint can be raised against the alleged perpetrator.

Certain violent offenses have no statute of limitations but theft is generally not one of them.

Any claims by the Motor View Drive Inn for that safe from 1971 expired long ago so Patterson can rest easy.

For an admitted criminal, Patterson has certainly inspired many with his honest and humorous obituary. Both friends and strangers have left condolences, saying they wishes they knew him better.

Val Patterson and his wife Mary Jane were married for 33 years. The confessions in his obituary are all true, according to her.

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