OKLAHOMA CITY – A wedding ring police say was stolen off the finger of a sleeping 78-year-old woman turned up at a pawn shop, but officials say it’s not as simple as just giving the owner her ring back.
Oklahoma City police seized the ring as evidence.
In similar cases, after the investigation is done, typically both parties – the original owner of the stolen property and the pawn shop – will have to go to court, even if a Good Samaritan offers to pay the pawn shop the money it lost.
“On cases like this, we are required to let that go before a judge and let a judge determine who gets the property, what the financial interest in it is for both sides and how that can be worked out,” said MSgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department.
Police said the process can take a while.
“It came in. It was out for sale for a couple of days,” said Rachelle Zellers, assistant manager at Cash America Pawn.
The stolen wedding ring worth $30,000 is finally found but still not back on the finger of its original owner.
"Right now, all I want to do is get those rings back to my mom," daughter Trela Wishon told KFOR Friday, "because she's in the hospital right now, she's not expected to live, and she's so wishing she could have those rings back, and she's not getting them yet."
After seeing the ring on the news, employees at a pawn shop on Northwest 23rd immediately recognized it and called police.
“I was just so excited to know that I have this precious wedding ring," Zellers said.
Philip Church, of Super Pawn, has worked in the pawn industry for 35 years now. He said pawn shops have a good relationship with police departments to help make sure the goods they purchase aren’t stolen.
“We try to qualify the customer. We ask them certain questions. And, every now and then, you can kind of tell when something may not be theirs,” Church said.
Church said pawn shops are required to send police serial numbers and descriptions of each item purchased. They must hold on to it for 10 days before it can be sold.
“That way, if someone reports something stolen, a red flag will come up, and they’ll be able to locate the item,” he said.
Now, the shop that found the ring said it just wants the ring to go back to its original owner.
“That she gets it back as soon as possible and she understands that we're not holding anything against them,” Zellers said.
Police said they have a suspect in the case. So far, no arrests have been made.