Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Police seal off funeral home Officials search Conestoga business
Police seal off funeral home Officials search Conestoga business BY JENNIFER TODD, Staff Writer
County officials sealed off Gundel Funeral Home in Conestoga with yellow police tape Thursday after serving a search warrant at the property.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman declined to discuss specifics of the search, but said it was part of an ongoing investigation.
Stedman said officials served the warrant at the funeral home at 3225 Main St. in the late afternoon and worked there for several hours.
The property remained sealed off overnight, with marked police cruisers parked in each driveway.
Stedman said investigators would continue work there this morning.
He also said he expected to release additional information about the search today.
Gundel Funeral Home and its owner, Benjamin M. Siar Jr., have come under fire recently from clients who have accused Siar of mishandling funeral services for their loved ones.
Some clients said they have received urns containing no ashes, and obituaries -- if and when they appear -- are filled with errors.
The funeral home has had problems with some local business owners as well.
In December, Gundel was sued by a Leola burial vault company that said it accumulated nearly $21,000 in unpaid bills. At least two local florists have said Gundel owes them money.
The district attorney launched an investigation of the funeral home Wednesday, days after a Jan. 27 Sunday News article detailed complaints from clients and business owners.
Siar, in a story that ran in the Jan. 31 edition of the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, acknowledged that he's "made mistakes," but called some of the accusations -- including one that he waved the cremated remains of a loved one in the face of a client -- "sickening."
It was unclear if Siar was at the funeral home during the search Thursday.
Siar purchased the funeral home from the Gundel family in the mid-2000s and operated the business from the Conestoga location and a location on North Duke Street in Lancaster city.
A member of the Gundel family said Siar was evicted from the North Duke Street location last fall.
Police cruisers parked in driveways. DA says he will release information about search today.