Probation revoked for person of interest in headless body case

 By Bay City News Service

While Brian Egg was missing for weeks from his San Francisco home, investigators say a man on probation for grand theft impersonated him while buying a car and hired a hazmat cleanup company to clean up Egg's home, according to court records.

When neighbors raised suspicion about the cleanup crew, police obtained a search warrant for Egg's residence. They found a headless human body. 

The body has not been identified. But Lance Silva, the 39-year-old man who allegedly hired the cleanup crew using Egg's debit card, was jailed in Alameda County as prosecutors there sought to revoke his probation based on the evidence obtained by San Francisco police.

Prosecutors filed the petition to revoke probation today and Silva was scheduled to appear in court in Dublin this afternoon.

In 2011, Silva was charged with multiple counts of embezzlement, identity theft and grand theft. He eventually reached a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to five years of probation, according to court records.

Silva's alleged use of Egg's identity dates back to June, weeks before he was reported missing to San Francisco police, according to a probable cause statement by Alameda County District Attorney's investigator Peter Carlson. 

A man who identified himself as Brian Egg purchased a 2007 BMW 750 from Silmi Auto Sales in Newark on June 1, Carlson wrote. San Francisco police investigators later met with the dealership's owner, Ihab Silmi, who allegedly identified Silva as the purchaser of the car when shown photos of 
Egg and Silva.

Text messages between Silmi and the purchaser were from a phone linked to Silva, according to investigators.

On June 15, the car was allegedly towed from a no stopping zone at 379 Fifth St. in San Francisco, around the corner from Egg's home in the 200 block of Clara Street. A man retrieved it later that day. San Francisco police investigators later identified the man as Silva using video footage.

In late July, Egg's family members and neighbors grew suspicious about his absence, contacting San Francisco police to say they hadn't seen him in weeks. Police went to his home, but no one answered the door. Egg's sister reported him missing on Aug. 7 and police went to the home, but again 
no one answered.

Egg's voicemail message indicated he was out of town, San Francisco police Cmdr. Greg McEachern said Tuesday.

Neighbors were alarmed again when a hazmat cleanup crew showed up at Egg's home on Aug. 14, and police responded and detained a suspicious person. Responding officers found the cleaning products being used suspicious, as well as odors at the property.

San Francisco homicide investigators obtained a warrant to search the home the next day and brought cadaver dogs. They spent four days searching the residence, locating a human torso inside a fish tank in a concealed part of the home on Aug. 15.

The remains were turned over to the city's medical examiner's office, which is working to determine the person's identity and how they died.

Silva was arrested on Aug. 16. When he was searched, investigators recovered Egg's debit card, documents from the BMW purchase at Silmi Auto Sales, and a key for the BMW, according to court records. 

When he was interviewed by investigators, Silva admitted driving the BMW to the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station, according to court documents. Police found the car and towed it back to San Francisco for further investigation.

Police also arrested Robert McCaffrey, 52, of San Francisco on suspicion of homicide, fraud, theft, identity theft and elder abuse, but McCaffrey has not been charged and is not in custody. 

Silva remains in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin after having his probation revoked this afternoon. He is next scheduled to appear in court in Dublin on Sept. 12, according to jail records.

San Francisco police are asking anyone with information about Egg or any businesses who may have been contacted by someone pretending to be Egg, or anyone who may have been helped with financial transactions related to Egg to call police on their anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to 
text a tip to TIP411 with "SFPD" at the beginning of the message.