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Missing championship ring turns up 2,000 miles away

By By Anne McCloy
Published On: Mar 21 2014 08:46:15 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2014 09:19:05 AM CDT
Missing championship ring

WSMV

A Tennessee state football championship ring that went missing in Franklin, Tenn., more than a decade ago resurfaced this week about 2,000 miles away in northern California.

Attorney Grover Collins is often found in the Metro-Nashville courthouse these days, but as a teenager he held a different title.

He was a high school running back for Battle Ground Academy, which won the Tennessee state football championship in 1998.

For that accolade, he proudly wore his championship ring.

"When we first got it, we were excited to win and were excited to have it," Collins said.

But Collins said it was sometime in 2001 or 2002 when he went to the gym, took off his golden ring and put it in his gym bag while he went to work out.

When he came back, the ring was gone.

"They just swiped the ring right out of the bag," he said.

Collins assumed it was gone forever.

"Never even reported it stolen," he said.

The 1998 team is legendary at BGA for a few reasons, including being part of back-to-back state titles for the school.

"Troy Fleming was a big player on that team who went on to play for the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Titans," said Jason Gregg, director of alumni relations for BGA.

Gregg, who plays somewhat of a historian for the school, knew the missing ring was a big deal.

"I got a phone call from the sheriff's department in California, saying they'd found a ring and all the ring had on it was the last name 'Collins,''' Gregg said.

More than 2,000 miles away from Franklin, a deputy sheriff by the name of Matthew Kutz decided to do some research on the piece of evidence found in Madera County, Calif., during a random probation search.

Before the school even had a chance to look, the deputy had all he needed. He connected with Collins in a matter of 10 minutes.

"They called and asked me if I lost a ring. I said, 'Yes.' They said they found me on LinkedIn," Collins said.

Soon, the attorney will finally be reunited with his high school championship ring.

"It's just exciting, you know. I thought Metro had the finest police department, but I'm feeling good about Madera County, Calif., right now," Collins said.

It's still unclear how the ring got from Middle Tennessee to northern California or whether the person who had it is the person who actually stole it 13 years ago.

The ring is in the mail on its way back to Tennessee.