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Former Lancaster embalmer accused of stealing gold crowns from bodies

October 30, 2013|By Samantha Schaefer
  • Pete Jacob Lara, 39, a former worker at a Lancaster funeral home, more than two dozen felony counts.
Pete Jacob Lara, 39, a former worker at a Lancaster funeral home, more than… (Los Angeles County Sheriff's…)

A former Lancaster funeral home employee accused of taking gold crowns from human remains will be arraigned on more than two dozen felony counts, the L.A. County district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Former apprentice embalmer Pete Jacob Lara, 39, allegedly took gold crowns from bodies -- as well as an urn and decorative urn medallions that combined are worth more than $1,000 -- while he worked at Halley-Olsen-Murphy Funeral Home in Lancaster.

Lara then sold the items, which were allegedly stolen between June 25, 2012, and Oct. 28, 2013, at pawn shops and jewelry exchanges, prosecutors said.

He is charged with felony counts of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; removal or possession of dental gold from human remains; grand theft by embezzlement, and 23 counts of second-degree commercial burglary.

His bail is set at $510,000. If convicted, Lara faces a maximum of 19 years in prison. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the case, the D.A.’s office said.  


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