A former NFL player with a home in Surfside Beach is breathing a sigh of relief today. After former Pittsburgh Steeler Richard Conn reported his 1974 Super Bowl ring missing on Monday, Surfside Beach police were able to retrieve it on Saturday.
Surfside Beach Police Chief Mike Frederick said that the four-day investigation eventually involved five other state and local law enforcement agencies before a search warrant was served late Friday night and early Saturday morning in Forestbrook, resulting in the arrest of 40-year-old Gregory Allen Owens of Myrtle Beach. As part of the search, police found Conn’s Super Bowl ring and his 1973 University of Georgia football ring hidden behind a water heater in the garage. The two, valued at $20,000, were sealed in a plastic bag and suspended with fishing line. Owens was charged with second degree burglary and grand larceny of more than $10,000.
According to an arrest warrant, police were led to Owens at least in part by Owens’ wife. A witness told police that the wife offered to sell the Super Bowl ring after finding it. After police arrested Owens and found the rings, Owens’ wife told police that she found them in the trunk of their car on Wednesday. When she asked her husband about them, he took them away and offered no explanation, she said.
Owens’ wife also told police that she was aware he burglarized homes, according to police, and that she would sell or pawn items that her husband gave her.
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Frederick said that additional charges against Owens may be forthcoming, and he said this case struck a chord with the department because of the emotional impact of the crime.
“Thefts like these remind us that a certain, slim minority of folks will steal just about anything,” he said in a release, “with absolutely no regard for the potential emotional distress they may cause.”
Conn played one year with the Steelers and five years with the New England Patriots. His ring will be returned to him next week.