FSU recovers stolen national championship trophies

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A pair of $30,000 national football championship trophies stolen last year from a locked case at Florida State University have been recovered.

John Piowaty, a 25-year-old self-described boat captain from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was being held on burglary and grand theft charges, university spokeswoman Browning Brooks said Wednesday.

Jason Rojas, a public service commission staff attorney, was booked on a felony charge of possessing stolen property after he returned the second crystal football to authorities.

Florida State police said both men are graduates of the
University of Florida and neither had any previous criminal

One of the trophies was recovered in Fort Walton Beach in the western Florida Panhandle, about 150 miles west of Tallahassee. The second was recovered in the capital city.

Neither were students or employees at the university, Brooks said.

The Waterford Crystal trophies, awarded at the time by Sears in
recognition of the 1993 and 1999 national championships based on the final coaches poll, were removed from a locked wooden-and-glass
case outside coach Bobby Bowden's office on June 23, 2004, during
renovation work in the area.

"I always felt like we would [get them back] because what are you going to do with them?" Bowden said Wednesday night.

There were no surveillance cameras in that area and the trophies were not insured, but university president T.K. Wetherell said
security has since been beefed up significantly.

"I thought it was just a matter of time," Wetherell said.
"You can't have something like that and somebody's not going to
say something to somebody."

Wetherell says he would consider reducing the charges if the men are prepared to make restitution to the university for the replacement trophies and investigation expenses.