WWYD: The Found Ring

In this installment of “What Would You Do,” a valuable ring is found on the street. Here’s Katie:

I work near a lot of jewelers and found a ring on the street outside my office. It’s probably not an engagement or wedding ring, but it does have some semiprecious stones on it. I posted about it on Craigslist and didn’t get any responses that even remotely described the ring. Some friends said I should turn it into the police, but 1) my experiences with the Chicago Police Department do not inspire much faith 2) I called 311 and the cop said “honestly, it’ll probably sit in our evidence vault for six months, then get auctioned off. We don’t have a system for matching loss reports with our inventory” (??!). I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. Can I ethically sell it, Billfold readers?

“‘We don’t have a system for matching loss reports with our inventory’ (??!).” My thoughts exactly. I mean: What? If a house was robbed, and the owner reported missing jewelry, there would be no system in place to get that jewelry back to its owner if that jewelry turned up in the police department’s evidence vault? This makes absolutely no sense to me. I would have gone to the police department to confirm what the police officer said over the phone. Maybe it’s just a Chicago PD thing, but when my friend got his laptop stolen a few years ago in New York, he reported it stolen and had a photo of it with identifiable stickers on it. The police were able to recover it after arresting a robbery suspect, and were able to return it to him promptly.

But, hey, you got in touch with the police. You took the time to create a Craigslist posting. If nobody claims it, it’s yours, just like any other unclaimed item you found on the street. But I’d hold on to it for a while before selling it.

During the holidays, an editor at the BBC tweeted that his home was burgled, and that a thief made off with his late wife’s engagement ring. Reading his series of tweets was pretty heartbreaking:

There probably isn’t a heartbreaking story behind this ring, but my god how amazing would it be to make someone like Peston’s day? I’d hold on to it for a little bit longer.


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.



8 Comments / Post A Comment

Blondsak (#2,299)

Welp, I was going to say keep it, until I read Mike’s response. Now if I were Katie, I would HAVE to return that ring to the police after another month or so, no matter what. What if it was some poor chap’s late wife’s wedding/engagement ring? (And yes, I’m being totally serious! You just never know.)

josefinastrummer (#1,850)

@Blondsak But if she turns it into the police, it will disappear. The cop basically told her that they keep things for six months and auction it off. It sounds like they don’t even try to match up turned in stuff with missing stuff reports.

Dancercise (#94)

Have you thought about contacting the jewelers near your work? Maybe someone dropped it after getting it sized or cleaned. Just stop in on your lunch break and ask if anyone has called regarding a lost ring and if they left a description.

If I were the person who lost it, I’d call the jeweler immediately to see if I’d dropped it in the store or near the door.

madrassoup (#929)

@Dancercise Oh, what you said (which I was typing while you were posting).

madrassoup (#929)

Instead of the police, can you visit some of the jewelers nearby to see if the ring matches anything they’ve recently sold, cleaned, or re-sized? I mean, it’s a lot of work for you but the fact that you say you work near the jewelers should do more than explain why you found it — perhaps it could lead you to the owner!

readyornot (#816)

I have two anecdotes related to losing or finding things:
– When I was a high school student, I ushered a gala at our community theater. After clean-up, I found a man’s wedding ring in the parking lot. I turned it in to the theater managers who got to return it to its rightful owner when he came back for it. It turned out to be the ring of my confirmation sponsor’s ex-husband’s second wife, small town. He sent me a thank you note. I still felt pretty good about getting something back to the person to whom it belonged.

– When I was moving with my then-boyfriend out of a New Haven apartment, it was burgled. We were down on the street by ourselves loading the truck, the thief slipped in the door and walked up five flights of stairs to our apartment. He took a DSLR, my crappy flip phone, $450 in cash from my wallet we’d been paid for some used furniture we were shedding. I know the thief was male because he actually used my phone, and then when I activated another used one, I corresponded with his friends who still had my number without them knowing who I was. This is an obsessive and unhealthy move, but I felt violated and powerless. I was taking back something, exploiting the idiocy of the thief. The New Haven police flat out refused to use the phone numbers or addresses I learned that way or look for the serial number of the DSLR camera we’d lost. I mean. New Haven. I guess they have bigger fish to fry.

Megano! (#124)

Hmmm, maybe you should check twitter for lost ring posts?? And/or make a tweet about it and ask for RTs?

Sell it sell it. For whoever lost it, that’s very sad, but in the end it’s just a piece of jewelry.

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