A SEX offender has been nabbed after allegedly deep frying hands and feet – found after a U-haul was searched during a hunt for a missing masseuse.
The driver reportedly got out of the truck and told Philadelphia police, "I don't want anything to do with this, and there's a body in the back."
Pervert Taray Herring, 47, who is a registered sex offender, has been charged with burglary and abuse of a corpse in connection with the dismembered body.
Although police have still not identified the victim, neighbors have told reporters they believe it is missing masseuse Peter Gerold, 70.
Philadelphia Police spokesman Sgt Eric Gripp said: "The vehicle pulled over, and as soon as the officers got out of the car, the driver of the U-Haul just came right out the door and said 'I don't want anything to do with this', and 'there's a body in the back'."
Gripp added that the driver "came out with his hands up and said 'I didn't do it, it wasn't me. I was paid to move a body'."
Both the unidentified motorist and passenger – identified as Herring – were arrested, with the driver later released after questioning.
After talking to Herring, detectives hunted through dumpsters near a strip mall, and found black trash bags containing hands, feet and cut-up legs, a source told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
These were less than a third of a mile away from the first crime scene in Somerton, reports Metro.
Police spokeswoman Cpl Jasmine Reilly said that the Medical Examiner's Office is still confirming the dead person's identity.
But the remains were consistent with an adult male, she confirmed to reporters.
The person's hands and feet had been deep-fried, a police source told the Inquirer.
The bizarre case began with the report of a suspected burglary at 70-year-old Peter Gerold's home in the Somerton area last week.
The registered massage therapist had been reported missing on Wednesday, after someone living out of Pennsylvania asked for a welfare check as they were concerned about having no contact from him "for some time", reports the New York Post.
Although cops went to his home, they didn't go inside as there was nothing suspicious at that stage, say media reports. Neighbors said they had noticed Gerold’s cars missing.
Police spokesperson Cpl Jasmine Reilly said later: "We don't just kick people's doors in – there must be a reason why we go in there."
Then, on Thursday, they were investigating a complaint about a burglary in progress in Somerton.
And they followed a U-Haul truck which drove away from the property in the Somerton neighborhood.
After they pulled the driver over, they found the dismembered body in a trash bag in the rear of the truck. A weapon was also found.
Cops later took 63 exotic animals, including parrots and bearded dragons, from Gerold's home on Friday, after executing a search warrant.
Neighbors told CBSN Philly they hadn’t seen him in about a week and feared that someone had taken advantage of kind nature.
“He helped out a lot of people, so you know it was somebody that he probably helped out at one point that came back and did this to him,” one neighbor told the broadcaster.
CBSN says that it's not clear whether Herring and Gerold knew each other.
Police sources told Fox 29 they had recovered remains from the garage along with items to compare for DNA.
“It sounds like something out of a movie or something,” neighbor Tiffany McLean told CBSN, adding, “I can’t really, I’m still trying to process it myself.”
The Inquirer reported that Herring is a registered sex offender and was arrested in May 2020 on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft, and other charges.
He was released in June, and has not yet faced a preliminary hearing, it adds.
Herring’s preliminary court hearing in relation to the burglary and abuse of a corpse charges is scheduled for March 1, reports CBSN.
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