SAN ANTONIO -- The nephew of former San Antonio Spurs player Johnny Moore is accused of stealing two NBA championship rings and a University of Texas ring to sell at local pawn shops.
The three pieces of jewelry were valued at nearly $34,000. The sentimental value, however, is likely priceless.
James Witherspoon, 34, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with theft between $20,000 and $100,000. He has since been released on bond.
According to a San Antonio police arrest warrant, Moore had allowed his nephew to stay with him at his home on the city's northwest side. The rings were reported stolen in early August after the nephew's visit.
Moore was a basketball player at the University of Texas. His NBA career eventually brought him to the Alamo City to play with the San Antonio Spurs for most of the 1980s and into 1990.
The 54-year-old Moore was presented with both a 1999 and 2003 NBA championship ring. According to an arrest warrant, Witherspoon sold each ring for less than $1,000.
Police had no trouble finding the UT ring at a Cash America Pawn store in the 6500 block of San Pedro. They found the NBA championship rings at Gold Unlimited in Castle Hills and Miles Gold and Silver on San Pedro. Recovering one of the rings, however, was almost a rescue mission.
According to the arrest document, the 1999 ring had been resold to Central Refining in the 900 block of E. Nakoma to have the jewels removed and the gold melted down.
All three rings were recovered.
Moore is in a small group of Spurs who has had his jersey, double zero, retired in the AT&T Center. He was also voted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.