Riverside mortuary driver stole jewelry from woman’s corpse

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Riverside, CA – Detectives recently arrested a decedent transportation service employee who stole a piece of jewelry from the body of a deceased woman. On Thursday, September 24, 2020, an elderly woman passed away at a local hospital in Riverside. A mortuary based out of Orange County handled arrangements for the family and used a decedent transport company to drive the woman’s body to their mortuary facility. A few days later, family members noticed a ring, valued at several thousand dollars, was missing from the decedent’s hand and they reported the theft to the Riverside Police Department. Detectives with the Property Crimes Unit began an investigation and were able to determine the ring had been pawned in Los Angeles County by one of the contracted decedent transportation drivers.

After detectives conducted additional follow up, the suspect was arrested on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in Riverside. Mark Anthony Zuniga, 27-years-old of Downey, was later booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for one count of removing articles from a dead body, which is a felony violation. He has since been released on a “Notice to Appear” citation due to current bail schedules for non-violent offenses in California. Additionally, Mr. Zuniga has been relieved of his transportation duties.

Detectives were able to return the stolen ring back to the decedent’s family this afternoon, who expressed their gratitude for the thorough investigative work that led to this arrest and return of a family treasure.

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Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation and arrest should contact Detective Edward Vazquez at (951) 353-7955 or EVazquez@RiversideCA.gov. Those wishing to remain anonymous can e-mail rpdtips@riversideca.gov or utilize the Riverside Police Department’s mobile app “Submit at Tip” feature while referencing report number 200026696.