Homeless man arrested for stealing from MAX victim

George Tschaggeny, 51, arrested wearing Rick Best's wedding ring

George Tschaggeny, 51, in a June 2 booking photo, was caught on video carrying Best's black backpack off of the MAX train. (MCSO/PPB)


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man wanted for allegedly stealing a backpack and wedding ring from Ricky Best, one of the victims killed in the MAX attack on May 26, was wearing Best’s wedding ring when he was arrested.

George Tschaggeny, 51, was caught on video carrying Best’s black backpack off of the MAX train.

Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson provided details of his arrest Friday morning, saying a tip from a Domino’s Pizza worker led them to the homeless camp where Tschaggeny lives off Northeast Halsey Street under the Cesar E. Chavez overpass along I-84.

“Detectives noticed that he was wearing a ring and determined that was Mr. best’s wedding ring,” Simpson said.

Best’s family realized the items were missing while making funeral arrangements Thursday, police said. Upon reviewing surveillance video of the crime scene, police determined the bag had been stolen.

Detectives believe Tschaggeny took Best’s ring off of his finger but don’t know how he did it.

“It’s completely heartless,” Simpson said. “There’s no way to describe what happened. I have only heard of one other time that something like this happened and it was a gang related incident where people took jewelry off the deceased after a shooting. That action is just incredibly heartless and unconscionable.”

Best’s son, Eric, told KOIN 6 News the wallet is still missing. The wallet had contact information for people Best served with in the Army and his family wants that information so they can get in touch with those people.

Police are urging people to be on the lookout for the wallet.

“They’ve suffered an immense loss and this is just one more layer of tragedy to their already awful experience,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said.

Best, a 53-year-old army veteran, was stabbed to death after standing up for two girls being verbally assaulted by a man on the MAX. He was a 23-year Army veteran and father of 4.

Simpson said this news has angered detectives involved with the MAX attack investigation.

Complete coverage of the deadly MAX attack

Court documents show Tschaggeny went through a divorce in 2015 and has faced several felony charges, including auto theft and burglary. Documents also show he has a history of cocaine and heroin use.

Tschaggeny’s sister Camille told KOIN 6 News that her brother suffers from an opioid addiction. She said:

First and foremost, I wish that Mr. Best’s family are able to recover the property. I understand that is no measure against their grief. I am sick inside for their loss as well as the other families and for the girls. Our concerns are with the victims in this case, all five and their families. We all love and support my brother, but my brother is a very troubled man with an opioid addiction.This is yet another failure of inhumane and gross policies and lack of healthcare infrastructure to support addicts.  As much as we love and support my brother, my brother has to own the consequences of his actions.”