PORTLAND, Ore. – The crime shocked an already-traumatized community. Moments after Rick Best was fatally stabbed on a TriMet train while defending two women, someone stole Best's wedding ring and backpack.
After 12 hours of social media outrage and his photo being shared widely in the community, the man suspected in the theft is now in custody, Portland police announced Friday morning.
Police reported that he was wearing the wedding ring when he was taken into custody under the Cesar Chavez Boulevard overpass at Interstate 84 near Halsey Street. Detectives believe he took the ring off the finger of Best.
George Tschaggeny, 51, has been accused of second-degree abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, identity theft and second-degree theft. He has a number of prior citations, plus felony arrests involving driving and parking violations, criminal trespass and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Police credited the public's help in apprehending the homeless suspect, specifically a Domino's Pizza worker who recognized the suspect. Many other tips placed Tschaggeny in the area of I-84 and Sandy Boulevard.
Suspect in theft of property from Ricky Best has been apprehended. More details released soon. Great job Portland! pic.twitter.com/LwOXxTdnpT— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 2, 2017
Police released surveillance photos and video of the suspect Thursday night. The news prompted immediate outrage across social media, with local and national news outlets widely circulating the images and asking for the public to help. Thousands of commenters weighed in on KGW's Facebook page, calling for the capture of the suspect.
He was described as a white man with a blonde mullet wearing a black Jordan cap, a black T-shirt with an image of Marilyn Monroe and an American flag, black shorts and black shoes.
The man was seen carrying Best’s black backpack in his right hand and another backpack in his left hand leaving the scene after the May 26 stabbing, police said.
A 35-year-old self-proclaimed white nationalist, Jeremy Christian allegedly stabbed three men on the TriMet MAX train. Two of the men, 53-year-old Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, died. The third man, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, survived the attack.
Christian attacked the men after they tried to protect two young black girls at whom Christian was yelling racist and anti-Muslim remarks. One of the girls is Muslim and was wearing a hijab.
Police say Best's backpack contained items that are personal and important to his family, including his list of all the people who served with him during his 23 years in the Army that was in a camo-colored wallet.
The lwallet was not found when the suspect was taken into custody. Anyone with information about the wallet is asked to contact Detective Michele Michaels at 503-823-0692.