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Man admits stealing Kelly's rings

A Buffalo man who stole several thousand dollars worth of sports rings and other memorabilia from Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly pleaded guilty Thursday to felony grand larceny before Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case.

Kevin S. Sapp, 36, formerly of Seneca Street, pleaded guilty to the theft of a briefcase containing the memorabilia that the sports legend left in his unlocked car two years ago.

Case, who refused to give Sapp a sentencing commitment Thursday, could impose the maximum four-year prison term on his plea to fourth-degree grand larceny.

The prosecutor said he will ask the judge to make the sentence consecutive to the prison term for burglary that Sapp has been serving since March 2010 for home burglaries in Cheektowaga and Orchard Park -- crimes committed soon after the Kelly thefts.

Though Sapp is currently eligible for parole in mid-2012, prosecutor Michael P. Felicetta said he will urge that he remain in custody another four years.

Kelly family photos and a watch were never recovered, Felicetta noted.

Eric Schmidt, 34, of Seneca Street, West Seneca, who drove the getaway car Sapp used as he was scouting out Southtowns burglary candidates in the summer of 2009, is currently free on bail and awaiting grand jury action in the Kelly case.

Felicetta said Sapp "managed to stumble" onto the unlocked car Kelly left in the driveway of his Town of Aurora home and grabbed the briefcase containing family photos, the watch and two sports rings Kelly treasured. The crime occurred at about 4 a.m. Aug. 12, 2009.

Kelly's 2002 NFL Hall of Fame ring and University of Miami "Ring of Honor" were recovered.

Currently an inmate at the state's Collins Correctional Facility, Sapp will be sentenced May 24, court officials said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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