PORT CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy arrested a Port Charlotte man after he saw a $56,745 ring fall off a 73-year-old bar patron’s finger. He picked it up, pocketed it and went home. Arrested for grand theft from a person 65 and older was Brian Patrick Cooney, 57, of the 800 block of Fairfax Terrace. A deputy was dispatched at 9:54 p.m. Monday to Gatorz Bar & Grill, 3816 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, concerning theft of a valuable gold and diamond ring. The general manager said she had surveillance video of a customer named Brian picking up a ring off the ground that belonged to another customer. He then put it in his pocket and left. She did not know Brian’s last name who is a regular bar patron.
The deputy viewed the video taken outside the bar and saw what appeared to be a ring fall on the ground from the left hand of the elderly customer. With the ring on the ground, the man known only as Brian was seen walking over to the ring, placing his right foot over it in an attempt to conceal, looked around, bent over and picked the ring up. He walked around, and then placed the ring in his pants pocket. Shortly after, the victim and other customers began looking for the ring but Brian did not assist. He then left the area. The manager and the deputy reviewed previous credit card transactions to try and find Brian’s last name. A credit card receipt was located and showed the name of Brian Cooney. The deputy ran a computer check that produced Cooney’s driver’s license photo and his home address. A detective and the deputy went to Cooney’s home and asked if he was at Gatorz; he said he was. They said they were there to collect property that did not belong to him; Cooney said he did not know what they were talking about. Cooney was then told he was shown on surveillance video picking up the ring and putting in his pocket. Cooney then said he had the ring and was going to give it to the owner tomorrow when he returned to the bar. Cooney produced the ring he put in his bedroom dresser drawer and gave it to the deputy. Clothing that Clooney was wearing as seen in the video matched exactly the clothing located on his bedroom floor. At 1 a.m. today, Cooney was arrested and transported to the Charlotte County Jail, where he remains on $25,000 bond.
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