VIGILANT staff at a city pawn broker have been praised by police for helping reunite a distraught bride with her wedding and engagement rings.
The treasured items were seized from Colette MacDonald’s car in May, which she had parked outside a relative’s house in Coundon.
But last week the 26-year-old collected the rings from Cash Generators on Trinity Street – the store which played a central role in the Tolkienesque tale of their return.
Having been irritated by the rings Colette left them in her car as she went inside her relative’s home. When she returned the following morning she found the driver’s door slightly ajar and the rings had gone.
The New Arley resident decided not to inform the police and resigned herself to the fact the sentimental items were lost forever.
Unbeknown to her, just two days after the theft, staff at Cash Generators phoned officers raising concerns about a customer who had brought in two rings.
Suspecting they were stolen they purchased the goods to ensure they could be passed onto police immediately.
Officers then set about identifying where they had come from but as Colette had not reported the theft there were no records of her loss.
Undeterred officers turned to social media, posting a photograph of the rings on Facebook and Twitter and called on the public for help.
Just hours later a delighted Colette was on the phone to officers after spotting the image herself.
PC James Rees, who led the investigation, said: “Colette’s delight at being reunited with the rings spread through the whole station.
“She was understandably keen to come and collect the items but our job wasn’t quite complete as they were essential evidence in a case we were building against the person who’d sold them.”
In July officers arrested 22-year-old Adam Thomas from Oxford who admitted his involvement and was charged with four offences of theft. He was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to all charges.
PC Rees, added: “In interview Thomas admitted that he had been going out at night, and under the cover of darkness would try car door handles, rummaging through the ones that had been left unlocked.
“When he came to Colette’s car, a fault with the central locking system has meant that one of the doors had failed to lock. It is a case that echoes the tips highlighted in our recent ‘Check your Fob has Done its Job’ vehicle security campaign − and will hopefully remind others to check their vehicle is fully locked before leaving it.
“Thieves have no sentiment or regard. To Colette the rings were irreplaceable symbols of her wedding day and married life. But to Thomas they were just items he callously thought he could trade in for financial gain.”
PC Rees invited Colette to come and collect her rings on Wednesday, October 8, but rather than picking them up from the police station he asked her if she would meet him on Trinity Street.
“It seemed only fitting that we invited Colette along to Cash Generators,” he explained. “They kick-started our work and are worthy of recognition and a big thank you from the blushing bride.”
For more information on car security visit www.safermotors.co.uk or visit www.immobilise.com to register jewellery and other valuables for free on the national property database.