LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Charges have been filed against a 53-year-old man accused of stealing a black Cadillac hearse carrying a casket and remains, authorities said Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Ronnie Skipper has been charged with three counts, including the grand theft of an automobile, according to a written statement.

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Prosecutors said in the statement that Skipper was arrested on Dec. 27 after police received a call that a hearse, which held a casket with remains inside, had been stolen from a church on Avalon Boulevard in Los Angeles.

When officers arrived and began to search, prosecutors said police discovered the hearse pulled over with several people holding the suspected driver.

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Skipper was arraigned Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to several counts, KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reported.

The defendant faces seven years in state prison, if convicted as charged.

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The case remains under investigation.