Engagement ring stolen before Valentine's Day proposal

by: Diana Davis Updated:

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MARIETTA, Ga. - What would have been a romantic Valentine’s Day evening has been spoiled for a Marietta couple.
         

The engagement ring John Fennelly planned to use to propose to Ashley Neil, his girlfriend of three years, was stolen in a break-in of the couple’s home. Fennelly told Channel 2’s Diana Davis he had saved up for the ring for more than a year, and it was not insured.

“To replace the ring it will take me months to build up the money to be able to buy it, because I don’t make a lot of money every week,” Fennelly said.
         
He said the thief or thieves smashed in the back door of his Marietta home and stole the $6,000 engagement ring Fennelly had tucked away in a drawer.

Instead of the romantic proposal to his girlfriend planned for Valentine’s Day night, Fennelly called her Wednesday afternoon when he discovered the break-in.

“I told her, 'Hey, I hate to tell you this, but I bought your engagement ring and now, it’s gone,’” Fennelly said.

Neil told Davis, “It’s a ring. It’s a material thing. It bothers me that it hurts him so much. I love him, and I’m going to marry him one day.”

The couple bought the house off Powder Springs Road in May, and they’ve been working on renovations since then.

“I've been working on the house for so long and hard, it just makes me furious to come home and find someone's been in here tearing up my stuff,” Fennelly said.

Just months ago, the couple said someone stole Fennelly's power tools. They installed a security camera on the front door, but the thieves entered through the back. They were saving up for an alarm system.

“It’s terrible to not feel safe in your own home, especially when we've worked really hard to get there,” said Neil.
         
Valentine’s Day has special meaning for the couple, because it’s both their parents’ anniversaries. Now, it will be memorable for the wrong reasons.

“Some guys got to come in here because they think they need it more. I get so mad every time I think about it,” said Fennelly.
        
The small diamonds around the center one-karat stone he bought were from Neil’s grandfather's ring. He died recently of cancer.
                   
“It wasn't worth much. It was more sentimental, and he used those diamonds and they’re gone, too,” said Neil.

The couple said there have been other break-ins in the neighborhood. Marietta police are investigating.