'Pawn Stars' helped former Washington lineman Mark May recover missing Super Bowl rings

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Longtime Washington lineman Mark May's lost Super Bowl rings turned up earlier this month at the famous "Pawn Stars" pawn shop in Las Vegas. (Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images)


Former Washington Redskins lineman Mark May lost his two Super Bowl rings earlier this year after spending the night in a Phoenix-area hotel. He thought they were gone forever.

It had been months, and the two iconic rings from Washington’s Super Bowl wins in 1983 and 1988 hadn’t surfaced.

Earlier this month, though, May’s rings turned up.

Police arrested Marcel Behnert in early July after he attempted to pawn May’s one-of-a-kind rings at the Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas — the pawn shop made famous on the popular History Channel show “Pawn Stars,” according to ABC15.

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Mark May is thankful for a Vegas pawnshop's vigilance. (Getty Images)


May last wore his two rings at a charity event in Scottsdale, Arizona, in February, and stayed the night at a hotel. Shortly after he arrived back home, May realized that his rings and watches were missing.

He called the hotel, which immediately started looking for the jewelry. In April, per the report, hotel staff found his rings and watches in the room safe that he had used. So, the staff brought the jewelry to Behnert, the hotel’s lead engineer.

The hotel, though, never contacted May.

Instead, Behnert drove up to Las Vegas and attempted to sell the rings together for $12,000 at perhaps the most famous pawn shop in the country — something that raised several red flags.

“I asked the pawn broker how much the guy was looking for, and he told me the amount, and my first reaction was, ‘Each?’ And he goes, ‘No, for both of them,’” Gold & Silver general manager Andy Zimmerman said, via ABC15. “Given what he was looking for, I thought that doesn’t have a good sign to it. So I told my pawn broker, ‘Go back out there and counter, and see what he does.’

“We countered at a lower price, and he accepted it, which led me to believe even further that there was a problem.”

Zimmerman, per the report, then contacted police in both Las Vegas and Mesa, Arizona. They arranged for Behnert to return to the pawn shop the next day, thinking he was going to close the deal and sell the rings. That’s when police arrested him.

“All we were interested in was getting Mr. May his rings back,” Zimmerman said, via ABC15. “The neat thing about a championship ring is it has the person’s name on it, so it makes it a little easier for us to do our due diligence.”

May played in the league from 1981-1993, most notably with the Redskins before two short stints with the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals at the end of his career. The one-time Pro Bowler and former Pittsburgh standout also worked as a college football analyst at ESPN for more than 15 years.

The 59-year-old said he will pick up his rings and watches — which were found in a safe in Behnert’s home — next week. Behnert, per the report, has been charged with theft and trafficking in stolen property.

Thankfully, May said, the “Pawn Stars” stars asked questions when the rings showed up.

“When someone comes in like that, they smell a rat if you don’t have a receipt or if you don’t have a story or proof of ownership,” May said, via ABC15. “Once [the pawn shop] smelled a rat, they turned it over to Diamond Don, and he’s like, ‘No, I know Mark May. I know that he’s not pawning his rings to give them to some guy.’

“The bottom line of the story is the integrity of the guys on ‘Pawn Stars’ for what they do and their due diligence. When you watch their show, they say, ‘If you don’t have proof, we don’t want it.’”

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