An alleged thief is accused of stealing a dead disabled veteran’s gold wedding band, according to police who say the criminal pawned the ring for $85.
Massachusetts State Police have arrested a 53-year-old Springfield man, Antonio Bell, and charged him in connection with stealing the wedding band. Bell is a certified nursing assistant who had contact with the veteran for the last three years, including in the days after he died.
A State Police trooper last month responded to the Veterans Home at Holyoke — formerly the Soldiers’ Home at Holyoke — to investigate the wedding band theft. Security staff reported that the dead veteran’s gold wedding band had been taken during the process of moving his remains to a funeral home.
The trooper launched an investigation — conducting interviews with staff at the Veterans Home, family members of the veteran, and staff at both the morgue and funeral home. Through interviews, the trooper narrowed down the timeframe between the ring last being seen on the veteran’s hand and the ring going missing.
The trooper then zeroed in on Bell. Records at an area pawn shop showed that Bell had recently sold a gold wedding band, which was later discovered to be the wedding band belonging to the dead veteran. Bell pawned the ring for $85.
The wedding band has a monetary value of up to $2,000, according to State Police, “and, more importantly, an emotional and sentimental value beyond numerical qualification.”
The trooper was able to get the wedding band back to the veteran’s family.
Bell was arrested and charged with larceny from a person over 65, larceny from a building, and receiving stolen property. Upon the completion of Bell’s booking, a bail commissioner placed a bail amount of $1,000 prior to him being transported to the Hampshire County House of Corrections.