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Rays' Wander Franco Has $650K Worth of Jewelry Stolen from Car in Hotel Parking Lot

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 22, 2022

Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

A 24-year-old man allegedly stole $650,000 in jewelry from Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco in June.

According to ESPN's Paula Lavigne and Jeff Passan, the theft occurred while Franco was on a rehab assignment in Jacksonville, Florida. It is alleged that Kahlil Eugene Mathis broke into Franco's Rolls-Royce Cullinan in a hotel parking lot and stole a safe containing the jewelry.

The contents stolen were a $300,000 diamond-encrusted chain, a $200,000 rose gold chain, a $70,000 gold pendant, a $44,000 Rolex watch, a $20,000 American League championship ring, a $20,000 Durham Bulls International League championship ring and a $5,000 gold pendant.

Mathis was arrested July 4 after he sold some of the jewelry to a pawn shop, as police identified him through an Arizona driver's license and thumbprint he gave at the pawn shop.

Mathis is reportedly in jail and is facing charges regarding nine different incidents, including multiple burglaries.

Per Lavigne and Passan, Franco's safe was recovered and the two championship rings were found, but the two chains and the Rolex are still missing.

The 21-year-old Franco was on a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham at the time of the theft. While he made his return to the Rays on June 25, he went back on the injured list two weeks later because of a broken hamate bone in his right hand.

Franco is widely regarded as one of the most talented young stars in baseball, especially after his performance last season when he debuted.

He hit .288 with seven home runs, 39 RBI and 53 runs scored in 70 games before hitting .368 with two homers, four RBI and five runs in four playoff games.

In 58 games this season, the Dominican Republic native is hitting .260 with five home runs, 23 RBI, 34 runs and five stolen bases.

If the Rays can get Franco back this season, he will provide a huge boost to a team that is second in the American League East at 51-41, 12 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

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