Headless torso case: Missing man’s debit card paid hazmat crew to clean his SF home

The debit card of a missing man was used to hire a hazmat crew to clean the South of Market home where police later found a headless corpse decaying in a fish tank, court records revealed Wednesday.

The San Francisco Examiner obtained the records in the case against 39-year-old Lance Silva, one of two men arrested in connection with the grisly discovery on Aug. 14 at the home of 65-year-old Brian Egg.

Police discovered the body after neighbors called 911 to report that a private cleaning crew was working at Egg’s house. Neighbors and family reported Egg missing to police in late July, but officers had not entered the house despite opening a missing persons investigation on Aug. 7.

The records show that someone used the debit card and cash that belonged to Egg to hire the cleaning crew. Silva also allegedly impersonated Egg and used the debit card to purchase a BMW at a dealership in Newark on June 1.

In an interview with homicide investigators days after the discovery, the owner of the dealership did not recognize Egg from a photograph as the man who bought the 2007 BMW 750, according to court records. But when shown a mug shot of Silva, the owner told police, “That’s more like him.”

SEE RELATED: SFPD found headless torso in fish tank after knocking on door for over a week

Police arrested Silva and 52-year-old Robert McCaffrey on suspicion of homicide, financial crimes and identity theft, but the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office declined to charge either man citing the need for further investigation.

Silva is currently in jail in Alameda County for an alleged probation violation related to the arrest in San Francisco. McCaffrey has been released from custody.

The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office declined to comment on behalf of Silva.

Court records show that Silva allegedly was arrested with Egg’s debit card on him, documents related to the purchase of the BMW and the key for the car.

The owner of the car dealership, Silmi Auto Sales in Newark, also showed police a text message with a person who said they were Egg. The phone number matched a phone that police allegedly found on Silva upon arrest.

“It should be noted that during a Mirandized interview Silva admitted to driving the BMW and leaving it parked in the BART Station in Pittsburg/Bay Point,” the records read. “Silva stated during the interview that he found the vehicle parked at Egg’s residence and did not admit to the fraudulent purchase.”

Police found the car at the BART Station and are currently testing it for DNA evidence.

The court records also show that the BMW was towed from a parking spot near Fifth and Harrison streets on June 15. Silva and another man who has not been arrested were allegedly captured on surveillance video paying to retrieve the BMW from the tow yard in San Francisco.

Egg, who worked as a bartender at The Stud gay bar in SoMa decades ago, was last seen in late May or early June, according to police.

The headless corpse found at his house has not been identified by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

A neighbor told the Examiner Egg was known to eat lunch at St. Anthony’s Dining Hall and bring presumably homeless men back to his home.

He was also a common sight in the neighborhood until he went missing.

Brian Egg, 65, was last seen in June and reported missing in late July. (Courtesy photo)

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Michael Barba
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