According to the Athens Banner Herald, just recently, the Athens-Clarke County PD received a letter from the Chicago Bears thanking them for helping recover memorabilia that was stolen from Roquan Smith, the all-American linebacker from the University of Georgia who was the first-round draft pick for the Bears this year.
The memorabilia from Smith’s time as a football player for the UGA Bulldogs included his helmet and the jerseys he wore in the Rose Bowl, the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
These items were stolen from Smith’s car at The Mark apartment complex on Oconee Street on May 5. Police valued the jerseys as worth up to $40,000 each “due to Mr. Smith’s clout at UGA and soon in the NFL,” according to the police theft report. Smith “stated that those belongings are priceless to him,” according to the report.
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The Bears’ thank you letter mentioned Officer Marcus McQuien, who lifted fingerprints from Smith’s car which led to the identification and arrest of the alleged thief, who police identified as Landyn Shane Durham, a 20-year-old UGA student.
Police matched the fingerprints to Durham because his prints were on file in another jurisdiction, according to Epifanio Rodriguez, public information officer for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.
Some of the items were recovered from the suspect’s Athens apartment while the others from a relative’s home in Chattooga County, police said.
Arrest warrants that charged Durham with two felony counts of entering an automobile with the intent to commit a crime were issued. Durham surrendered on May 10 at the Clarke County Jail and was released upon posting a bond of $22,200.
The handwritten letter from the Bears was signed by the team’s director of security, John Tarpey.
It read: “Ofc. McQuien and Dept., on behalf of the Bears,
“Thank you all for helping Roquan recover his stolen items. They would have been irreplaceable.
“We have you covered in Chicago!! You all are the best!!!”
Rodriguez, the police spokesman, said his department receives thank you letters from victims often, not just in high-profile cases.
“Our officers receive thank yous from the community on a regular basis, and they are a daily reminder on why we continue to do the work we do,” Rodriguez said.