An Arizona hotel employee was arrested earlier this month for allegedly stealing the Super Bowl rings of former Washington Redskins offensive lineman Mark May.
Marcel Behnert, 43, was arrested in early July for stealing the two rings and then trying to pawn them at Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas, which is featured on the History Channel television show “Pawn Stars,” ABC15 chronicled, citing a police report.
May last wore the rings during a charity event in Scottsdale, Ariz., in February and when he arrived back home he realized his Super Bowl rings and his watches were missing, the station reported.
A few months later, in April, the rings and watches were discovered in a safe in the same room where May had been staying. Hotel workers brought the items to Behnert, the hotel’s lead engineer, but instead of giving them back to their rightful owner, Behnert drove to Las Vegas and tried to sell thing rings to the pawn shop, police said.
The shop’s general manager, Andy Zimmerman, told ABC15 he recognized some red flags when he learned of Behnert’s price.
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.
“I asked the pawn broker how much the guy was looking for, and he told me the amount, and my first reaction was, 'Each?' And he goes, 'No, for both of them,” Zimmerman told the station.
He added: “Given what he was looking for, I thought that doesn’t have a good sign to it. So I told my pawnbroker, go back out there and counter, and see what he does. We countered at a lower price, and he accepted it, which led me to believe even further that there was a problem.”
Zimmerman then contacted a sports memorabilia collector known as Diamond Don, who works with Gold & Silver Pawn about the price. Diamond Don then contacted May and authorities soon got involved.
“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 [they] 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.’”
May added: “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.’”
Zimmerman alerted authorities in Mesa, Ariz., and Las Vegas. Behnert was later arrested.
Police said May’s watches were found in a safe at Behnert’s home.
Behnert was charged with theft and trafficking stolen property.
May said he hopes to retrieve his belongings next week.
“I thought they were gone forever,” May told ABC15. “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.”