Police tackle case of stolen football rings
Burglars hit Super Bowl winner’s Spokane home
A former pro football player whose championship rings were stolen when his Spokane home was ransacked says he’s hopeful he’ll see the memorabilia again.
“But we’ll see,” said Stefan Humphries, former director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. “It’s like a nightmare.”
Humphries, who played on the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl championship team, said he’s devastated by the loss but won’t let it sour his outlook on Spokane, where he lived for seven years before accepting a job in Nevada last month.
“I was in a funk for a couple of weeks as a result of it,” Humphries said in a phone interview Friday from his new job as director of a rehabilitative center in Nevada. “It’s that sentimental attachment that you really can’t replace. … It’s priceless, it’s personal and it definitely is associated with some wonderful memories.”
Humphies was on vacation when thieves kicked in the front door to his home and looted it in June. A friend discovered the break-in.
Spokane police recovered Humphries’ Super Bowl ring and his University of Michigan Rose Bowl championship ring, but his Big 10 championship ring, Michigan senior ring and diamond and gold Super Bowl pendant still are missing.
So is a ring given to Humphries’ father, Thornton Humphries, when he was inducted into the Seattle University sports hall of fame as a member of the 1957-’58 basketball team. Electronics and furniture also were stolen.
Police said Thursday that a Denver Broncos AFC championship ring was stolen, but Humphries said that ring is with his father in Florida.
Humphries, an offensive guard who was the drummer in the Bears’ famous “Super Bowl Shuffle” video, praised the work of the Spokane Police Department.
“They’ve done a phenomenal job investigating the case,” Humphries said. “The due diligence they’ve shown has been really impressive.”
Spokane police detectives, who are members of a U.S. Marshals task force and allowed to cross state lines, located the Rose Bowl ring and other stolen property in a motel room in Post Falls after arresting convicted felon and repeat offender Jonathan R. Andersen, 24, on June 21.
Police say Andersen was driving an SUV stolen from Dishman Dodge on East Sprague Avenue days earlier that contained thousands of dollars worth of stolen gold, silver and diamond jewelry.
Andersen fled a stop on Interstate 90 and struck a detective’s vehicle before he was taken into custody at Argonne Road and Knox Avenue. Police said Thursday that they believe he’s part of a larger burglary ring with his cousin, Joseph Whipple, 24, Solomon Monkiewicz, 20, Milo Laulaulo, 25, and Kelsi Bendewald, 22, and they are recommending prosecutors charge them with a slew of felonies.
Andersen, who is charged with 15 felony gun and property crimes charges for a burglary in May at a home in Otis Orchards, said in an interview Friday at the Spokane County Jail that he knows nothing about the stolen memorabilia.
He said he was at the motel in Post Falls for five or six hours and didn’t leave anything there. He said strippers had rented two motel rooms and a lot of people were there partying. He said he’d expect someone to be showing off memorabilia that flashy, but he never saw the items when he was there.
“Anything that was left in those rooms, I had nothing to do with,” Andersen said. “I’d never be part of something that high-profile.”
He said he knows of the Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle but had no idea a team member lived in Spokane.
Humphries, dubbed “the can’t miss kid” by Sports Illustrated in 1980, earned a degree in bioengineering at the University of Michigan and played five seasons in the NFL before earning his medical degree. He worked in Colorado before moving to Spokane in 2005.
“I can understand why the public’s upset about it,” Andersen said of the memorabilia being stolen from Humphries.
“Obviously he’s a productive citizen.”
Anyone with information on the location of Stefan Humphries’ stolen football memorabilia is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.