Tampa Bay Rays’ Wonder Franco jewelry stole $650,000 from the car

An alleged serial thief stole more than $650,000 in jewelry from a Tampa Bay Rays’ shortstop Wonder Franco SUV when he was on a rehab assignment in June, according to police and court records obtained by ESPN.

Cahillel Eugene Mattis, 24, used a wrench to break into a Franco Rolls-Royce Cullinan’s car in a Jacksonville, Florida, hotel parking lot at 3 a.m. on June 22 and grabbed a safe containing seven pieces of jewelry, according to an arrest report. Mattis sold some jewelry, and police identified him through an Arizona driver’s license and a thumbprint he gave her at a pawn shop before they arrested him on July 4, according to the report.

As part of his recovery from a right quadriceps strain, Franco was playing with the Triple-A Durham Bulls and was in Jacksonville when Mattis, who was wanted to commit three more vehicle break-ins, allegedly drove Franco’s car into the parking lot of the Double Tree Hotel. According to the arrest report, Mattis took a $60 safe from the back of the car he was holding:

• $300,000 Gold Diamond Cuban Cuban Link Chain and a Round Diamond Wing Medal with a W in the Center
• A Cuban Chain in Rose Gold with Diamonds Worth $200,000
• A $70,000 gold necklace with a medallion written in green and blue that spells “FRANCO 5”
• A Platinum Rolex watch set with diamonds $44,000
• American League Championship ring worth $20,000
• $20,000 Championship Ring from Durham
• A gold necklace of Jerry Mouse, valued at $5000, from a cartoon Tom and Jerry

On June 23, the report said, Mattis sold two of the items at a pawnshop about 20 miles southwest of the hotel. After Mattis’ arrest, police found the safe in a bedroom closet in an apartment about 6 miles from the hotel. Among the items inside are the two championship rings. On Friday, the mayor’s office told ESPN that the Cuban and Rolex link chains were not found.

Mattis is in prison and faces charges in nine separate incidents since January, including four counts of felony burglary, break-in by Franco, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office records. He was also charged with 14 other felonies related to weapons, tampering with evidence, resisting arrest, credit card fraud, and drug, in addition to four counts of misdemeanour, including assault. The court date is set for August 1, and he is holding $906,566 in bonds, according to the sheriff’s office.

A public defender of Mattis did not respond to messages left by ESPN.

Returning to the Rays on June 25, Franco played the equivalent of two weeks of matches before breaking Hammett’s bone in his right hand. Rays put him on the injured list, and he is expected to miss six to eight weeks, keeping him out until at least mid-August.

After making his illustrious debut in 2021, hitting 368 in the post-season, Franco has hit .260/.308/.396 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 58 games this year. The former No. 1 potential player in Major League Baseball signed an 11-year, $182 million contract with the Rays in November.

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