Man stole 100 football helmets left outside, deputies say

Published: Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 8:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.

A Gainesville man was arrested Saturday night after a woman told police he stole 100 football helmets from her neighbor's yard.

According to an Alachua County Sheriff's report, on Saturday morning, James McKaig left 10 mailing bags full of football helmets on the corner of his Jonesville property, to be picked up by FedEx. Ten football helmets were in each bag, which were all sealed and had mailing labels attached.

The 10 bags were bound for Riddell, the company that supplies helmets and protective gear to the NFL, in Elyria, Ohio.

Each helmet was worth $250, for a total value of $25,000 for all 100 helmets, according to the report.

Before 9:30 a.m., a neighbor of McKaig's was walking her two dogs when she saw a man in a blue pickup truck take all 10 bags out of the yard. He left the FedEx paperwork in the yard.

Some time later, McKaig called Play It Again Sports, and manager Craig Carpenter said a man had brought 100 football helmets into his store in exchange for $500, according to the report.

Store records showed the $500 check was made out to Loren Sawyer, and that Sawyer had left a contact number.

Carpenter, another store employee and the neighbor were all able to identify Sawyer from a photo lineup.

When deputies went to Sawyer's home to arrest him, they found him with a small amount of marijuana and a package of rolling papers.

Sawyer, 38, was arrested shortly before midnight and booked into the Alachua County jail on one felony count each of grand theft and dealing stolen property, plus one misdemeanor count each of possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia. Jail records show his bond is set at $50,000.

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