Machine's inventor created it with a pious aim: to reuse the body of executed criminals to host the life force of a dying surgeon, e.g. Niven's "The Jigsaw Man" was yet to be written, so the implications of mining executed criminals' bodies wasn't considered.
In any case, an escaped death row convict gets hold of the machine & has a merry-go-round robbing banks etc, discarding bodies as necessary. Until the inventor traps him...
- Murray Leinster's "The Mole Pirate": While the device is different, dilemma is the same. A man invents a locomotive that, at the press of a button, transforms into a machine that can move through solid matter like walls & interior of earth. So a criminal grabs it & has fun. Until the inventor traps him...
- Eric Frank Russell's "Somewhere a Voice".
Fact sheet.First published: Astounding, November 1941.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of Eric Frank Russell.