Officers find $150,000 in jewelry taken from Walter Payton's mom

By Sherri Drake
January 12, 2006

Sheriff's deputies and Mississippi police arrested a man in Frayser Wednesday and confiscated $150,000 in jewelry they say he stole from NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton's mother in Jackson, Miss.

Shelby County deputies and Jackson police officers raided the home, at 3676 Julia, and found the jewelry -- which included several items the late star football player gave his mother.

"They were her pride and joy," said Eddie Payton, Walter's brother. "They connected her with her son."

Inside the Frayser home Thursday, investigators arrested 61-year-old Andrew Thrash, of Jackson, Miss.

In September, police say Thrash and a female accomplice posed as cops to get in Alyne Payton's Jackson home. They claimed to be checking the neighborhood for fake jewelry, then took her jewelry box.

Payton, 79, ran after the thieves and Jackson police later arrested Thrash, who skipped town after he posted bond.

They haven't caught the accomplice.

Among the stolen items were a Chicago Bears lapel pin, an NFL coin with Walter Payton's picture, watches and chains.

Eddie Payton said he's happy officials caught Thrash, who's charged with theft of property over $10,000, and that his mother will have the jewelry back when she turns 80 Saturday.

"This is going to be the greatest birthday present she's had in 79 years."

-- Sherri Drake: 529-2510