Their disappearance baffled Florida State University. Now, nearly a year and a half after FSU’s two national championship trophies went missing, they are back in the hands of their rightful owners.
The question everyone has to be asking is where were they?
One was found in Fort Walton Beach Wednesday the other Wednesday night in the Southwood area of Tallahassee.
There were some questions as to who would take them. FSU police say the football bandit wasn't a student and did not have any affiliation with the university.
So now the question is why?
It’s been a long time coming, but FSU President T.K. Wetherell knew this day would come.
"It's good to have it back on campus, that's where it belongs, that's where it was earned and that's where it deserves to be,” Wetherell says.
FSU police say they received more than a dozen tips on the trophies since they went missing a year and a half ago, but one that came in last week proved its weight in crystal.
"We feel great. This is obviously a big deal for FSU, a lot of the alumni were miffed that they were stolen,” says Major Tom Longo.
MAJ Longo says the football bandit is 25-year-old John Piowaty of Fort Walton Beach.
He didn't share why he stole the trophies but he told police how. He just walked in, broke into the case, and walked out. He would keep one of the Waterford crystal balls in a storage closet in Okaloosa County, the other one found in Tallahassee in the closet of a Southwood man's home.
"Right now, shame on them,” Wetherell says.
Once the investigation wraps up, FSU’s crown jewels will return to where they rightfully belong.
FSU police say they will arrest the second man Thursday morning. They will not release the name until they arrest him. He is facing charges of possession of stolen property.
FSU police say Piowaty is a boat captain by trade. Again, they're still trying to find out why. The good news is we are told both of the Waterford crystal trophies are in excellent condition.
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