HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno
Auriemma is without four stolen national championship rings even
though a suspected buyer was arrested Thursday.
Police said two teenagers took the rings Nov. 28 and sold them
for $150. Authorities say the rings are worth about $800 each.
Auriemma said he had the rings in his briefcase for a university
photo shoot. He left the briefcase in his car, parked in a
Manchester commuter lot while he went to dinner, police said.
"I didn't lock my car and someone took my stuff,'' said
Auriemma, who has coached UConn to five NCAA titles, including the
The teens, 13 and 15, broke into several cars in the lot that
"They were stealing change and CDs, maybe some credit cards,
when they stumbled onto these things,'' Manchester Sgt. Christopher
Davis said. "I imagine it opened their eyes up a little bit.''
Police arrested the teens last month after people reported
seeing the boys wearing the rings.
Investigators didn't announce the theft until Thursday, when
they arrested Javier Lugo of East Hartford on charges of larceny
and risk of injury to the juveniles. Lugo was arraigned Thursday
and was being held on $20,000 bail. He is due back in court Feb. 9.
Lugo's criminal history includes an arrest in New York for
burglary and possession of stolen property, police said.
"I believe he still knows where they are and may still have
access to them somehow,'' Davis said. "They're going to be so hot
now I can't imagine anybody wanting them.''
Auriemma, a five-time national coach of the year, said he didn't
wear the rings and that the theft can't undo what his teams have
"Just because somebody steals something and wears it around
doesn't make them good at anything,'' Auriemma said after learning
of the arrest. "Whoever has them out there, God bless them. Have
fun with them and enjoy them.''
A fifth ring was not in the briefcase because it had been sent
back to the manufacturer for an alteration, the UConn sport
information director's office said.