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37 years later, Crestview man reunited with stolen Florida high school championship ring

Wendy Victora
Northwest Florida Daily News

It’s been close to 40 years since Dwayne Davis was part of the 1983 Baker School state championship football team. Since then, the Crestview man has gotten married, become a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and had two children, one of whom was on Niceville High School’s state championship softball team. 

A few months after Davis won his championship, he and the other members of the team received state championship rings. 

And not long after that, Davis lost his. 

He was playing pool at the Gator Arcade on U.S. Highway 90 in Crestview, a popular hangout for kids in the '80s. When he played, he would take off his championship ring and his class ring and lay them on the rim of the pool table. 

At the end of a game, he went looking for his rings and they were gone. Someone had taken them. 

“I looked all over the table, the floor. Both of them were gone,” he said. “My name was on the side, my position, No. 55. Both rings were very identifiable. My name was engraved inside the rings.” 

He went home and told his parents, who agreed to replace the championship ring but not the class ring. 

That was the end of the story until Monday, when someone at Baker School opened a letter from the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, Alabama. 

The letter said that normally they don’t keep items left in hotel rooms past seven days, but they make occasional exceptions. The ring, which was found July 3, was one such exception, the letter said. 

The school bookkeeper who opened the letter showed it to the athletic director, who’d played with Davis on the championship team. 

Monday, the same day, Davis drove to the casino that day and claimed the ring he never thought he’d see again. The ring looked like it had been worn a lot in the past few decades. Someone had also tried to file Dwayne’s name off the side. 

He said he was ecstatic to get it back for sentimental reasons, but that he also felt violated at the thought of someone else wearing the ring he’d earned 37 years earlier. 

He said “young and dumb” explains stealing the ring, but that he couldn’t wrap his brain around someone his age wearing it for all these years. 

“I’m beside myself to think that someone has been wearing and living this lie all these years,” he said. “It takes a special person.” 

Dwayne Davis lost his 1983 Baker School state championship football ring shortly after he received it.  His parents replaced it, and recently the original ring has found its way back to him.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Dwayne Davis lost his 1983 Baker School state championship football ring not long after he received it. The ring has recently found its way back to him.
Dwayne Davis received this letter from Wind Creek Casino, where Dwayne Davis' lost 1983 Baker School state championship ring was found 37 years after it went missing.
Dwayne Davis is pictured with the 1983 Baker School state championship football. Davis is standing in back row, fourth from right.