Did you here the one about Vladimir Putin and how he supposedly stole the Super Bowl XXXIX Championship Ring of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft? Yeah, that was classic—and, also, not a joke. According to Kraft, that’s what really happened. He let Putin put the ring on during a photo op, Putin put it in his pocket, and then he walked away.
If true, this is probably the most badass thing Putin has ever done. Sure, he’s rigged elections and appointed a puppet president from his own party to keep his seat warm while he had the Russian constitution change to allow him to officially become President again. But stealing a $25,000 diamond ring from a rich American industrialist right in plain sight? That takes major Soviet KGB cajones.
Today, in honor of Putin’s legendary (alleged) Super Bowl ring heist, we present you with this list of notable championship ring thefts. They weren’t all carried out by powerful heads of state. In fact, some were probably carried out by housecleaners and golf caddies. But they happened. So take a look.
Current Cubs pitcher and former Rays pitcher Matt Garza had his 2008 Tampa Bay Rays American League Championship ring stolen from his Fresno-area home back in February of 2012, and apparently it has yet to turn up. Matt shouldn't worry too much, though. I'm sure he'll probably win another ring with the...
No, sorry, I can't even finish writing that joke. Poor Cubs.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Probably not.
11. Matt Garza's 2008 American League Championship Ring
Here's the problem with giving college football players big fancy championship rings: people on campus know who these guys are and where they live. And they don't live in big mansions with safes for their precious jewelry. So yeah, former Auburn TE Blake Burgess had his BCS and SEC Championship rings stolen from his apartment back in January.
Don't worry, though. He's still got that $40,000 school-issued NCAA Championship Ring. Because according to the NCAA, it's wrong if a booster pays a couple months of your mom's mortgage, but it's totally fine if your school buys you a $40,000 diamond ring.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Doubtful.
10. Blake Burgess's BCS and SEC Championship Rings
When RB Richard Murphy showed up to Jaguargs training camp back in 2012, he left four valuable rings in his 2010 Dodge Ram truck—a 2007 BCS ring, a 2007 SEC ring, a 2006 Sugar Bowl ring, and another one issued by LSU. Then his truck was stolen.
I bet he wishes he hadn't left those rings in there.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? No.
9. Richard Murphy's LSU Championship Rings
Just this week, former Saskatchewan Roughrider Matt Dominguez took off his 2007 Grey Cup Championship ring and his watch and left them in the center console of his car in the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. (That's right—Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.) Sure enough, his car was broken into and the items stolen.
This story, however, had a happy ending. The very next day, Moose Jaw police arrested a man for something totally unrelated, and in his pocket they found the ring.
The lesson? Don't leave your championship ring unattended in Moose Jaw.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Does anyone know where Putin was on the night of June 14? Okay, then no.
8. Matt Dominguez's 2007 Grey Cup Ring
In May of 2009, Reggie McKenzie, director of pro personnel for the Green Bay Packers, left his 1996 Super Bowl Championship ring and his 1997 NFC Championship ring in his car at a little league ballpark along with a laptop, wallet, and some cash.
I'm assuming he makes better personnel decisions than general life decisions.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Nah.
7. Reggie McKenzie's Two Packers Super Bowl Rings
The good news here is that the two NBA championship rings Malik Rose won with the Spurs in 1999 and 2003 were not stolen from his car. The guy had the sense to leave valuables like those locked in his home.
The bad news is that his San Antonio-area home was actually not that safe. The rings—along with a $111,000 chain, a $50,000 bracelet, and a $40,000 watch—were stolen by contractors back in 2005.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Not likely.
6. Malik Rose's Two Spurs Championship Rings
You baseball savants (or just regular Dodgers fans) out there probably recognize and interesting fact here: Jim Campanis did not play for the 1988 Dodgers. He did play catcher for the 1966, 1967, and 1968 Dodgers—until his own dad, the team's general manager, traded him to the Royals. So I guess it was for that very unique connection to the team that they decided to give the guy a ring when the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988.
Of course, in hind sight, it was probably unwise of Campanis to leave the ring in an unattended golf bag during a charity tournament in 2010. It was stolen by a club employee—though fortunately later recovered.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Definitely not.
5. Jim Campanis's 1988 World Series Ring
A.C. Green was such a fan favorite in L.A. during the Lakers' glory years during the 1980s that the team actually brought him back at the very end of his long career to win one more championship (his third) with the team in 2000. Then the Lakers gave him (as well as other notable alunni) a copy of the 2009 NBA Championship ring, too, bringing his collection up to four.
Sadly, three of these rings—1987, 2000, and 2009—were stolen from his home by day laborers who he had hired to move some stuff from his house into a storage unit.
At least he's still got the 1988 ring, though.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? I don't think so.
4. A.C. Green's Three Lakers NBA Championship Rings
Baltimore Colts legend Art Donovan had his precious 1958 NFL Championship ring stolen in Hong Kong way back in 1977. He got it back in 2011.
You see, police in Howard County, Maryland, received a tip that somebody was selling the ring on Craig's List, so they posed as buyers and got the ring in their possession. Then they informed the sellers—a husband and wife—that the ring was believed to be stolen property, at which point they had some of the pieces of the puzzle filled in.
The wife told police that her deceased husband had purchased the ring in Vegas in 1997 after he won a big jackpot. The person who sold it to him said the ring was stolen in Hong Kong in 1977, and the guy apparently told his wife that he contacted Art Donovan to see if he wanted the ring, but that Donavan said he'd been compensated by his insurance company and had no interest.
Of course, it turns out that what really went down was this: somebody contacted Donovan about the ring and asked if he wanted to buy it back, but he refused to pay for his own property. And Donovan's insurance agent confirmed that he had never been compensated for the ring.
So it's probably a good thing that the woman's husband was dead. He'd have some serious explaining to do.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Apparently not.
3. Art Donovan's 1958 NFL Championship Ring
If you were a Bulls employee in the 1990s, you got a lot of really nice bonuses in the form of some seriously blinged out NBA Championship rings. Unfortunately, last November, one Chicago Bulls employee came home to find that four of his Bulls championship rings—1991, 1993, 1997, and 1998—had been stolen from his home.
The culprits? Contractors again.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Does Putin know plumbing?
2. Bulls Employee's Four NBA Championship Rings
Well, I saved the saddest case for last. You're welcome.
Legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk died unexpectedly in 1970 at the age of 40. He sustained fatal but "fluke" internal injuries while fighting with his teammate and roommate Ron Stewart, and he left behind a wife and seven children.
As if dealing with the sudden loss of the family's main bread-winner was not enough, in the year after his death thieves broke in to the Sawchuk house outside Detroit and stole the late goaltender's two Stanley Cup rings–a ring for his 1955 championship with Detroit, and a ring for his 1967 championship with Toronto.
To this day the rings have not been seen.
Stolen By Ex-KGB Head of State? Extremely unlikely.
1. Terry Sawchuk's Two Stanley Cup Championship Rings
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