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Orion man is reunited with treasured ring after it was stolen

October 09, 2013 - A New York man who robbed some lockers at Indianwood Country Club on August 23 got an unexpected find when he stole a 1995 graduation ring from West Point Academy.

The ring's owner was, Ben Hockenberry of Orion Township, was obviously upset but last Tuesday some good police work re-united Hockenberry with his valued ring.

"It's something that you work for the whole time you're there, so when you get it, it barely leaves your finger. So it's wonderful to get it back," Hockenberry said.

The thief had been dressing as a golfer and robbing country clubs all over Michigan before he was picked up in Northville after somebody recognized him.

A surveillance crew started watching him after he was spotted.

"What really caught up with him was he used people's credit cards. He would bypass cash in the lockers, and went for credit cards and things that attracted him, and one of the things that attracted him was a ring," Sgt. John Jacobson said.

Oakland County Sheriff's Detective Michael Winkler matched almost every transaction to a Meijer's in Northville, using still photographs that video cameras recorded.

"Usually we don't recover something like this. There's only a couple of cases in my 27 year career that I can remember recovering something that is gone. Once it's gone, it's gone," Jacobson said.

Sheriff's Department Lt. Dan Toth, of the Orion substation, and Jacobson spoke to the thief in the Wayne County Jail, and only mentioned that there was an item of importance that they wanted to recover, and never mentioned what it was.

"He goes, 'I know what you're looking for, time is an issue because it's going to be gone soon, so you need to contact my attorney before it's completely gone forever,' Jacobson said. "He knew exactly what we were looking for."

The thief took Hockenberry's wedding band and wallet as well, leaving his cross necklace dangling in the locker. He served as a military police officer when he graduated from the military academy West Point.

"I thought it was gone forever," Hockenberry said.

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