LANCASTER ( — A former apprentice embalmer has been accused of stealing gold crowns from human remains at an Antelope Valley funeral home, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Pete Jacob Lara, 39, is expected to be arraigned Wednesday on more than two dozen felony counts.

Lara is accused of taking gold crowns, a cremation urn box and decorative medallions from Halley-Olsen-Murphy Funeral Home between June 25, 2012, and Oct. 29, 2013.

KNX1070’s Claudia Peschuitta reports Lara allegedly stole approximately 125 crowns, which are worth roughly $50 each.

Prosecutors allege Lara pawned the items at local stores and jewelry exchanges.

A Facebook profile photo for Pete Lara shows a skull made of what appears to be teeth.

Lara is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; removal or possession of dental gold from human remains; and grand theft by embezzlement. He also faces 23 counts of second-degree commercial burglary, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez reports Lara pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday.

He remains in custody on $300,000 bail and is expected to appear for another hearing next month.

If convicted, he faces 18 years in state prison.

The owners of the funeral home are cooperating with investigators and say they are trying to track down affected family members.


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