- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 3, 2017

Portland police arrested a man Friday accused of robbing Ricky Best, a victim of last week’s light-rail stabbing rampage, as he lay dead aboard a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) commuter train.

George Tschaggeny, 51, was taken into custody Friday morning and charged with second-degree theft, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse in connection with allegedly stealing Best’s wedding ring and backpack in the immediate aftermath of last week’s assault, police announced afterwards.

Best, a 53-year-old Army veteran, was one of two men fatally stabbed abroad a MAX train in Portland on May 26 while attempting to intervene in a fellow passenger’s racist tirade, according to authorities. Jeremy Joseph Christian, the suspected assailant, was arrested moments later and currently faces nine charges, including two counts of aggravated murder.

Best’s family realized while making funeral arrangements Thursday that his wedding ring and backpack were both missing, according to police. Authorities ultimately concluded the backpack was stolen upon reviewing surveillance footage from the crime scene and released images Thursday evening of the suspected robber.

An employee of a nearby Domino’s Pizza immediately recognized the suspect as a homeless man who frequents a nearby camp and called the Portland police non-emergency line Thursday evening, KATU-TV reported.

Sgt. Pete Simpson, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, credited the staffer’s tip in allowing authorities to apprehend the suspect at about 2 a.m. Friday morning.

Mr. Tschaggeny was wearing Best’s wedding band at the time of his arrest, the spokesman said.

“It’s completely heartless,” he said Friday. “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 wallet is still missing, his son told Portland’s KOIN 6 News. It is believed to contain contact information for Best’s former Army colleagues and is still being sought by his family, according to police.

Mr. Tschaggeny is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, The Oregonian reported. He’s previously been arrested or cited more than two-dozen times within the state since 1988 on mostly traffic-related violations, the newspaper added, including three felony arrests during the last two years, per KVAL-TV. It was not immediately clear if he had secured legal representation prior to Monday’s hearing.

“We all love and support my brother, but my brother is a very troubled man with an opioid addiction,” Mr. Tschaggeny’s sister, Camille, told KOIN 6 News on Friday. “As much as we love and support my brother, my brother has to own the consequences of his actions.”

In addition to Best, police say Christian fatally stabbed another MAX passenger, 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, and seriously wounded another, 21-year-old Micah Fletcher, during last week’s rampage.

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