Former NFL offensive lineman Mark May will recover his two Super Bowl rings after a hotel employee was arrested trying to sell them at the shop featured on cable’s “Pawn Stars.”
May last wore the rings at a charity event in Scottsdale, Ariz., in February, when he stayed at a Phoenix hotel. After they were reported to be missing, the hotel’s lead engineer, 43-year-old Marcel Behnert, later took the rings to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, according to a story from ABC15 in Phoenix.
The shop, which uses a sports memorabilia collector named Diamond Don, called May about the potential transaction on May 2, and the shop alerted Mesa police a day later.
Mesa police said Behnert was asking to sell the rings — engraved with May’s name and his jersey number from title teams with the Washington Redskins in the 1982 and 1987 seasons — for a combined $12,000.
“When someone comes in like that, they smell a rat if you don’t have a receipt or if you don’t have a story or proof of ownership,” May told ABC15. “Once (the pawn shop owners) smelled a rat, they turned it over to Diamond Don, and he’s like, ‘No, I know Mark May. I know that he’s not pawning his rings to give them to some guy.’
“The bottom line of the story is the integrity of the guys on Pawn Stars for what they do and their due diligence. When you watch their show, they say, ‘If you don’t have proof, we don’t want it.’”
Authorities in Mesa and Las Vegas worked with the shop to get Behnert to return to the store, where he was arrested by undercover officers, charged with theft and trafficking in stolen property. Police said watches belonging to May were also found in a safe in Behnert’s home, according to ABC15.
May, a former ESPN analyst who lives in the Phoenix area, told the TV station that he will reclaim his rings from the Las Vegas police next week.
“I thought they were gone forever,” May said. “I attribute (their recovery) to probably four or five things. One is luck. I’m lucky to get them back. Two, good police work by the Las Vegas Police Department. Three, the integrity of the Pawn Star guys and Diamond Don.
“And four, probably greed and stupidity by the guy who was trying to sell them — one, to a pawn shop, because nationwide, they’re all connected when something like that comes up. And two, to do it on television when they tell you point blank: If you don’t have a receipt or you don’t have a proof of ownership, and it’s something that’s high-priced, we’re not interested.”
—Field Level Media