Police have arrested a homeless man who stole the wedding ring off a man who was fatally stabbed on a Portland train late last month. Ricky Best, a 53-year-old Army veteran and father of four, is being widely hailed as a hero for defending two teenage passengers when a white supremacist yelled racist and anti-Muslim slurs at them. Best was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect, George Tschaggeny, also made off with Best’s backpack. He was wearing Best’s wedding ring when police caught up with him.
Tschaggeny, 53, will be arraigned on charges of second-degree theft, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse in the second degree.
Policy say Tschaggeny, who is homeless, removed Best’s wedding ring from his finger as he lay dying.
“It’s completely heartless,” Sgt. Peter Simpson told the Oregonian. “There is no other way to describe what happened.”
Tschaggeny is also accused of stealing Best’s backpack. “Some items were missing, including a wallet with phone numbers of some of Best’s long-time friends,” police said in a statement.
White supremacist (and Bernie-bro) Jeremy Christian is accused of fatally stabbing Best and another hero, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, when they came to the aid of the girls on the train. Another man who intervened, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was stabbed but survived the attack.
Police say they were able to track down Tschaggeny beneath an overpass Friday after receiving a tip from “an alert Domino’s Pizza employee.” A day earlier, tips had come pouring in after police posted a surveillance video of the suspect, along with a plea for the public’s help in locating him.
The surveillance footage shows Tschaggeny leaving the scene with Best’s backpack:
Best, a resident of Happy Valley, Ore., whose military service included time in Afghanistan and Iraq, retired from the Army in 2012 after 23 years. At the time of his death, he worked as a technician for Portland’s Bureau of Development Services.
“He was always cheery,” his oldest son, Erik Best, told KATU. “After serving in the military, he’d usually say, ‘Hey, I’m not getting shot at, why shouldn’t I smile?’”
During a press conference on Friday, Sgt. Peter Simpson said, “I have only heard of one other time that something like this happened, and it was a gang-related incident where people took jewelry off the deceased after a shooting. That action is just incredibly heartless and unconscionable.”
Simpson thanked the numerous tipsters who helped lead police to Tschaggeny.
“We’re very thankful that people paid attention and the collective ‘we’ in Portland took this on our shoulders to try to identify and find this man and all those little tips helped point us to an area.”