MADERA COUNTY – Ten minutes and an internet search helped a Madera County Sheriff’s deputy reunite a Tennessee man with a treasured ring stolen more than a decade ago.
Deputy Matthew Kutz decided to do some digging to see if he could locate the rightful owner of a 24-karat gold Championship Ring, seized in a recent probation search in Madera.
The 1997/1998 State Championship Ring sports a BGA insignia, so Kutz Googled BGA, which led him to Battle Ground Academy in Tennessee. From there he searched for the school’s football roster of the 1998 Championship Team, and found a .pdf roster with the name Chris Collins.
Deputy Kutz then Googled “Chris Collins Battle Ground Academy 1998,” and discovered a LinkedIn account with the name Grover Christopher Collins. The deputy was convinced he had the right person because inside the ring were the initials GCC.
When Deputy Kutz called Mr. Collins, a former Assistant District Attorney who is now in private practice, and asked him about the ring, Collins described it to a tee.
Collins says his championship ring was swiped from his gym bag in Franklin, Tenn., back in either 2001 or 2002. He says it happened so long ago, he never thought he’d get it back.
How his ring made its way from Franklin, Tenn., to Madera, Calif., is anyone’s guess.
To make sure he gets it back, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office is sending the ring to the Metro Nashville Police Department, where it will be securely held until Mr. Collins can claim it.
Law enforcement isn’t worried about someone trying to impersonate Mr. Collins in an effort to claim his ring.
“We’re quite sure Mr. Collins will finally see his ring again,” says Sheriff Anderson. “He’s a very familiar face in that part of the state.”