Accused of Stealing Victim's Ring, He Was Once a Hero

George Tschaggeny, arrested in Portland, had been honored as Good Samaritan
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2017 5:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – Another cautionary tale in the midst of America's battle against opioids: that of George Elwood Tschaggeny. The military veteran helped tackle a bank robber armed with a knife in 2010 and was awarded a civilian medal, and it wasn't Tschaggeny's first turn as a Good Samaritan. More than a decade prior, he also came to the aid of a motorcyclist after a crash, putting the bike in his truck and driving the biker to the doctor, reports the Oregonian. But drug addiction set in and may have had a hand in propelling Tschaggeny to his latest set of headlines: He was arrested June 2 for allegedly stealing the wedding ring and backpack from Rick Best as he lay dying in the wake of the high-profile MAX attack in Portland, Oregon. Police believe Tschaggeny took the ring off Best's finger, though they aren't exactly sure how.

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Video caught the perpetrator calmly walking away from the scene, and Tschaggeny was arrested following a tip from a Domino's Pizza worker who said she recognized the 51-year-old and pointed police to the homeless camp where he lives, report KOIN. He was allegedly wearing Best's ring. In charting Tschaggeny's path, the Oregonian spoke with his ex-wife, who described a good life filled with dogs, mountain biking, and Westerns; she describes a man who made her lunch daily, and then dropped her off at work. But the painkillers prescribed for a knee injury turned into an addiction, followed by heroin. Multiple stints in rehab didn't have a lasting impact. KOIN notes Best's wallet remains missing. (Read more heroin stories.)

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