Coach's championship rings taken in burglary

Friday, November 14, 2008
Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca Marshall County High School coach Steve Reese shows his brother's championship rings. Reese's set of rings were stolen last week during a burglary at his home last Friday. Reese's initials were inscribed in each one of the stolen rings.

A Marshall County High School coach's championship rings were taken during a burglary at his Cornersville home last Friday.

Steve Reese of Simmons Ridge Road called the Sheriff's Department when he got home that afternoon and found that someone had broken into his house through the back door.

The most precious items lost are the rings Reese was awarded for coaching championship teams at MCHS and the Senior Babe Ruth League. Stolen were Reese's 1984 MCHS football championship ring; baseball state title rings from 1983, 1993, and 1994; baseball runner-up rings from 1995 and 1996; three Dusters' rings from their state titles in 1993, 1994, and 1995; and a gold baseball necklace.

"They are just gone, you can't replace them. That was a lifetime of blood, sweat, and tears," said Reese.

Reese's initials were inscribed in each one of the stolen rings.

Replicas of the originals might be available, but unless the crime is solved and the rings recovered, the mementos are gone.

The coach's home was ransacked, with dresser drawers open, clothes thrown on the floor, and closets searched, according to Sheriff's Capt. James Garner who reported that he and Detective Bart Fagan investigated at the scene.

Remarkably, the crime might have been prevented, or the coach might have been home if not for the weather a week ago today.

"I would have taken off work that day if it didn't rain," Reese said. "I had some stuff to do around the house, but decided to come to work when it rained."

Reese, a teacher and longtime assistant baseball coach at Marshall County High School, later supplied the sheriff's department with a list of missing items.

Beyond the rings, they include a pistol, shotgun, and rifle; a Toshiba laptop; a wall-mounted Samsung flat screen TV; and collections of old coins and Case knives.

"You feel dirty when this happens," Reese went on to say. "They have been in your house, went through every drawer and every closet. We feel like ripping all the stuff down and throwing it away. My little girl won't go into the other room now without being scared. She won't even go outside."

Asked about the possibility that the rings could be replaced, Reese responded, "Monk (Reese's brother and fellow coach at MCHS) seems to think there is a chance. Apparently, some of the companies do keep the molds and there is a chance. I am getting together an inventory of the stolen items and then will sit down with my insurance company and we will go from there."

Reese's Case knife collection amounted to 40 or 50 knives that he has been collecting since high school.

"I have been collecting those knives for a long time, one of them belonged to my granddaddy," said Reese.

Reese also talked about the coin collection that was stolen and said, "That was all old money. I don't think I will get what the actual money was worth to a collector."

"I hope to see them eye-to-eye one day in court and I hope they get due justice," said Reese.

Apparently, there has been a rash of robberies in the area and Reese wanted to warn other potential victims when he said, "If they want you, they will get you. Be really sensitive to your surroundings and pay attention to what goes on in your area."

Detective Capt. Norman Dalton confirmed Reese's information about other burglaries.

"We think it's the same people," Dalton said Wednesday.

The crimes are being committed between 7 a.m. and noon but not all have been successful burglaries, he said.

Someone reportedly kicked down a door at a Ewing Lane home where an alarm was sounded and scared away the perpetrators. That was on Oct. 27. Then, on Webb Road, a TV and jewelry were taken from a home.

A gun was taken from a Bear Creek Road home on Monday and that day, jewelry, a gun and money were taken from a home on the Lynnville Highway, Dalton said.

Lawmen have checked with pawnshops and made calls to other jurisdictions, the detective captain said.

He's asking the public for help. People with information that would help solve these and other crimes may call (931) 359-4867.

"They can stay anonymous," Dalton said.

Cash rewards are possible. The amount depends on the value of the information.