steals $56,000 ring
PORT CHARLOTTE — A Gatorz Bar and Grill patron allegedly decided to take home more than a doggie bag on Monday night, when he pocketed another customer’s ring valued at more than $56,000, according to a Charlotte County Sheriff’s report.
Brian Patrick Cooney, 57, of the 800 block of Fairfax Terrace, Port Charlotte, was charged with grand theft from a person 65 years old or older, in connection with the incident.
According to a report, Cooney was at Gatorz, located on the 3800 block of Tamiami Trail, on Monday when he saw the gold and diamond ring, valued at $56,745, fall off the finger of a 73-year-old bar patron and picked it up. Bartenders knew Cooney’s first name, but not his last, the report states, but were able to identify him using surveillance video.
The video showed Cooney walk over to the ring and put his foot over it to conceal it. He then looked around and picked the ring up off the ground, according to the report. The victim and other customers looked around for the ring but couldn’t find it; by then, Cooney had left the restaurant.
Using credit card receipts, detectives were able to find Cooney’s last name and tracked him to his home on Fairfax Terrace. When questioned, Cooney admitted to being at Gatorz, but denied knowing anything about the missing ring.
When told that surveillance video had captured him finding and ultimately taking the ring, Cooney told detectives his plan had been to return the ring to the victim when he returned to Gatorz the next day.
Cooney eventually relented and turned the ring over to authorities, who then placed him under arrest. He was transported to the Charlotte County Jail, where he remained Tuesday on $25,000 bond.
Staff at Gatorz had no comment Tuesday.