WHEATON, Ill. (STMW) — Frederick Tapley needed cash, so he stole the wedding and engagement rings off the finger of a deceased patient at the suburban hospital where he worked, then pawned the jewelry.

He used some of the money he collected to pay his cable TV bill, DuPage County prosecutors said Wednesday as the 37-year-old Romeoville man pleaded guilty to felony theft.

Tapley faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

Tapley worked at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove when he stole the rings last July after the 72-year-old patient died there. He took the jewelry while transporting the woman’s body to the morgue, prosecutor Mary Cronin said.

He later sold the rings at a Lansing pawn shop, using a share of the money to pay his cable bill, Cronin said.

The rings — valued at more than $3,000 — later were recovered from the business.

Tapley helped police locate the rings, his attorney said,

“He realized he made a huge mistake,” said attorney George Kallas.

Tapley, who was dismissed from the hospital after his arrest, remains free on bond.

–Chicago Sun-Times, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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