By CBSLA Staff

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — A former mortuary transport worker faces charges of grand theft after police say he stole a ring from the body of a dead woman.

Mark Anthony Zuniga, 27, of Downey, was arrested on Dec. 1 and booked on suspicion of removing an article from a dead body, a felony violation. He was released with an order to appear in court in February, but has been also relieved of his transportation duties, according to Riverside police.

(credit: CBS)

The woman who had owned the ring died on Sept. 24 at a hospital in Riverside, and her family arranged for her body to be transported to a mortuary in Orange County. Police say the family noticed the ring – which was worth several thousand dollars – was missing from her hand several days later, and reported the theft.

Detectives with the department’s property crimes unit determined the ring had been pawned in Los Angeles County by one of the contracted decedent transportation drivers, identified by police as Zuniga.

The stolen ring was returned to the family Thursday.