Not guilty plea in theft of MAX victim wedding ring

Theft suspect was wearing MAX attack victim's wedding ring

PORTLAND, Ore. – The crime shocked an already traumatized community.

Moments after Rick Best was fatally stabbed on a TriMet train while defending two women, someone stole Best's wedding ring and backpack.

After 12 hours of social media outrage and his photo being shared widely in the community, the man suspected in the theft is now in custody, Portland police announced Friday morning.

Police reported that he was wearing the wedding ring when he was taken into custody under the Cesar Chavez Boulevard overpass at Interstate 84 near Halsey Street. Detectives believe he took the ring off the finger of Best.

George Tschaggeny, 51, has been accused of second-degree abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, identity theft and second-degree theft. He has a number of prior citations, plus felony arrests involving driving and parking violations, criminal trespass and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

In court Tuesday, his attorney entered a not guilty plea. Tschaggeny will be back in court  July 24, at 1:30 p.m.

Years ago Tschaggeny was honored as a hero, before his family says addiction ruined his life. Portland police awarded him with a civilian medal in 2010 for stopping a bank robber who was armed with a knife. Police at the time called Tschaggeny "selfless and courageous." 

Fast-forward to this month. 

Police credited the public's help in apprehending the homeless suspect, specifically a Domino's Pizza worker who recognized the suspect. Many other tips placed Tschaggeny in the area of I-84 and Sandy Boulevard.

The news prompted immediate outrage across social media, with local and national news outlets widely circulating the images and asking for the public to help. 

Watch the surveillance video

 

© 2017 KGW-TV


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