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The owner of a Salt Lake County funeral service business was charged Tuesday with allegedly stealing a wedding ring worth $1,500 from a dead body.

David Louis Jacobsen, 59, the owner of Jacobsen's Removal and Embalming Service, in West Jordan, is charged in 3rd District Court with one third-degree felony count of theft.

Jacobsen allegedly lifted the gold ring from the body of Peter John Mrowiec, who was one of two men who died in a plane crash near the Nephi airport on Aug. 30.

According to charging documents, Cheryl Mrowiec reported that the ring was not given to her after her husband's body was returned from the Utah Medical Examiner's Office.

Investigators looking through records for the mortuary that cremated Mrowiec's body found that the business had hired Jacobsen to transport the body from the Medical Examiner's Office to the mortuary, and that Jacobsen had confirmed that the ring was among the personal items inventoried by the medical examiners. However, once the mortuary received Mrowiec's body, the ring was nowhere to be found.

Jacobsen told police that while he did sign off on the inventory of personal belongings, he did not personally inspect the bodies before transporting them, according to charging documents. Jacobsen said he did not recall seeing a ring and denied stealing it, suggesting that it may have been sent to the family of the other plane crash victim by mistake. But the wife of the second victim told police she did not receive Mrowiec's ring.

Mrowiec, 58, a Canadian citizen, and Robert Lamb, 45, a Utah County pilot and flight instructor, were the only two people inside an Alarus CH 2000 when it crashed and burst into flames about a mile from the Nephi Municipal Airport just after it took off.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board states that a thunderstorm with strong winds, heavy rain and lightning was present at the time of the crash. An official cause of the crash has not been released.

Mrowiec had traveled to Utah to buy the plane and retained Lamb to fly it and help familiarize him with the craft.

Twitter: @KimballBennion

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