When Carlos Dunlap earned a football award - and that's been quite often for the former Fort Dorchester High School star, who now plays in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals - he'd usually give it to his father.
"The first of everything, he'd always give it to me," Carlos Dunlap Sr. said Tuesday. "He'd always say, without me and my guidance, these things would not be possible."
Some of that memorabilia was apparently stolen from Dunlap Sr.'s North Charleston home in a break-in last week. Dunlap Sr. said his son's national championship ring from Florida, a high school All-American ring, nine or 10 signed Bengals jerseys and other valuables were taken from the home during daylight hours on July 14.
"These are priceless things," Dunlap Sr. said. "I'm willing to buy them back if I can just get them back."
Dunlap Sr. said he did not inform his son of the break-in until Monday.
"At first, I didn't want to tell him," he said. "But I told him yesterday after talking to a TV reporter. I didn't want him to find out on the news. He listened to everything, but he just said, 'Daddy, as long as you are all right. They can take my material possessions, but they can't take my joy.' "
The most valuable of the stolen memorabilia might be a small jersey replica made from black diamonds strung from a necklace. Dunlap Sr. said that piece alone is valued at about $7,000.
The stolen items also included a video surveillance system and other jewelry. The total value of the stolen items is between $20,000 and $30,000, Dunlap Sr. said.
Dunlap Sr. said a elderly neighbor saw two young men approaching his backyard on the morning of July 14, but didn't think much of it because kids often fish in a lake behind the backyard. The police report says a window screen was cut and a bathroom window forced open.
Dunlap Sr. said that before the media obtained the police report, he had wanted to keep news of the break-in quiet in hopes that the thieves would make a mistake.
"I wanted to let them feel no one was looking for it, and they would slip up," said Dunlap Sr., who owns a bail-bonds business in North Charleston. "Now that it's out on the news, they can't take it to a pawn shop or put it on eBay. It will set us back."
Follow Jeff Hartsell on Twitter at @jeff_fromthepc.
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