Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays stole $650,000 worth of jewelry from a vehicle


Suspected serial burglar stole more than $650,000 worth of jewelry from Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco’s SUV while on a rehab assignment in June, according to police and court records obtained by ESPN.

Kahlil Eugene Mathis, 24, used a key to break into Franco’s Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Florida hotel at 3 a.m. on June 22 and seized a safe. box containing seven jewels, according to an arrest report. Mathis sold some of the jewelry and police identified him through an Arizona driver’s license and a fingerprint he gave at a pawnshop before arresting him on July 4, according to the report.

As part of his recovery from a pulled right quadriceps, Franco was playing with the Triple-A Durham Bulls and was in Jacksonville when Mathis, who was wanted for three other vehicle break-ins, allegedly locked Franco’s car in the parking lot. of a DoubleTree Hotel. According to the arrest report, Mathis took a $60 safe from the back of the vehicle which contained:

• A gold Cuban link chain encrusted with diamonds worth $300,000 and a circular medallion with diamonds and a W in the center
• A $200,000 rose gold Cuban link chain with diamonds
• A $70,000 gold pendant with a medallion in green and blue letters spelling out “FRANCO 5”
• A $44,000 platinum Rolex watch with diamonds
• A $20,000 American League championship ring
• A $20,000 championship ring from Durham
• A $5,000 gold pendant representing Jerry the mouse from the cartoon “Tom and Jerry”

On June 23, according to the report, Mathis sold two of the items at a pawn shop about 20 miles southwest of the hotel. After Mathis was arrested, police found the safe in the bedroom closet of an apartment about 10 km from the hotel. Among the items inside were the two championship rings. The two Cuban link chains and the Rolex have not been found, the sheriff’s office told ESPN on Friday.

Mathis is in jail and faces charges for nine separate incidents since January, including four burglary charges, including breaking and entering Franco, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office records. He was also charged with 14 other crimes related to weapons, tampering with evidence, resisting arrest, credit card fraud and drugs, as well as four misdemeanor counts, including assault. He has a court date scheduled for Aug. 1 and is being held on $906,566 bond, according to the sheriff’s office.

A public defender for Mathis did not respond to messages left by ESPN.

After returning to the Rays on June 25, Franco played two weeks of games before breaking his hamate bone swinging with his right hand. The Rays placed him on the injured reserve and he is expected to miss six to eight weeks, keeping him out until at least mid-August.

After a stellar start in 2021, when he hit .368 in the playoffs, Franco is hitting .260/.308/.396 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 58 games this year. The former Major League Baseball No. 1 prospect signed an 11-year, $182 million contract with the Rays in November.


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