PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When George Tschaggeny was arrested Friday morning for allegedly stealing a wedding ring and backpack from MAX attack victim Ricky Best, it was because of a tip from a Domino’s Pizza worker.
Rachael Mallory, the general manager of the Domino’s Pizza at Northeast 36th and Sandy, alerted Portland police to a homeless camp where the 51-year-old alleged thief was living.
“I stepped out for a break around 10 o’clock (Thursday) night, and I opened up my phone and the first thing I saw on Facebook was the photos of the gentleman that got off the MAX and that had stole the items from the MAX attack victim,” Mallory told KOIN 6 News.
“I recognized him right away. He’s a familiar face. He’s a homeless man who lives around here and has for about a year now. As soon as I seen the hair I just knew it was him. Then you just get this knot in your stomach and I just had to call. I called the police non-emergency line.”
An officer was sent to investigate and then later called Mallory to say they arrested Tschaggeny.
“You don’t know how amazing that felt,” she said. “It was awesome.”
After Tschaggeny’s arrest, Portland police tweeted: Suspect in theft of property from Ricky Best has been apprehended. More details released soon. Great job Portland!
Best’s family realized the items were missing while making funeral arrangements Thursday, police said. Upon reviewing surveillance video of the crime scene, police determined the bag had been stolen.
Mallory said she recognized the suspect because he would go into the Domino’s every so often to either buy some food or ask if there were any orders that weren’t picked up.
“You know, I’ll give it to him. Sometimes that’s the only thing they’ll eat all day. So that’s how I knew of him.”
She also said what many people felt when they heard of the theft: “I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t.”
“How do you even? I’ll never understand that. I mean drug issues or not, there’s no excuse for doing that to anybody.” — Racheal Mallory
“How do you even? I’ll never understand that. I mean drug issues or not, there’s no excuse for doing that to anybody.”
Watching the video of the suspect leaving the MAX train with the bags “makes me sick to my stomach,” she said. “How can you do that to somebody else?”
A wallet from inside the backpack is still missing, Best’s son, Eric, told KOIN 6 News. The wallet had contact information for people Best served with in the Army and his family wants that information so they can get in touch with those people. Police are urging people to be on the lookout for the wallet.
Best, a 53-year-old Army veteran, was stabbed to death after standing up for two girls being verbally assaulted by a man on the MAX. He was a 23-year Army veteran and father of 4.
PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson said news of the theft angered detectives involved with the MAX attack investigation, and every officer was on the lookout for the thief.
Racheal Mallory said she’s just glad police got the ring back for the family.
“Isn’t it sickening, like, how do you, knowing that the gentleman passed away for…standing up for the girls, you know, that just adds insult to injury.”
She added she hopes it helps Ricky Best’s wife and family in this time.
“Anything that can help them right now I’m just glad to be able to do it.”