Stealing Walter Payton’s rings is apparently the least of this guy’s problems.
A suburban Chicago man got 2 1/2 years probation for swiping the Hall of Fame ring given to the late Walter Payton as well as a replica Super Bowl XX ring.
James Graham, 31, of North Aurora was sentenced to 30 months of probation after pleading guilty Wednesday to theft and unrelated charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and to a probation violation, according to the Kane County state’s attorney’s office.
The rings, valued at $4,100, were stolen in March 2006 from a display case at Walter Payton’s Roundhouse Complex in downtown Aurora. Payton, who died of cancer in 1999, received one ring when he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame and the other was a replica of his Super Bowl XX championship ring.
Police later recovered the rings from a pawn shop, where two men, including Graham, had sold the rings for $165, authorities said. Police were notified of the ring’s whereabouts by a pawn shop employee who had seen news reports about the theft.
Graham agreed to serve 30 months of Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC) probation in exchange for a guilty plea. TASC is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Graham must complete the program to avoid doing jail time. He was ordered to remain in Kane County Jail custody until a bed opens at the rehabilitation center.
Graham also pleaded guilty Wednesday to possessing heroin on May 16, 2006 which violated probation on an aggravated battery charge from April 2006.
The case against Graham’s 19-year-old alleged accomplice was pending.