Friday, October 14, 2005

One man's trash is another's diamonds

$26,000 Diamond Ring Found In Sewer Remains Unclaimed

DANA POINT, Calif. -- Milton Tobar found treasure in a place he usually finds trash.

The South Coast Water District (SCWD) maintenance worker discovered a diamond ring with an official appraisal of $26,700 in a sewage pipe. The 8-inch pipe runs along a Dana Point street past 29 houses.

No one has claimed the ring, which has a center stone of 2 1/4 karats and a total of 4 karats. It was flushed from the pipe during an annual cleaning more than one year ago.

"We're trying to find the owner, and no one can find the owner," Tobar said, shaking his head. "I can't believe that."

Tobar said he never considered slipping the band on his wife's finger. A spokeswoman for the water district said the ring became property of the SCWD when Tobar made the discovery.

"Right now, because no one has claimed this property, it is our property, and we are putting it up for public auction," said Linda Homscheid of the SCWD.

Based on the setting and the condition of the prongs, a local jeweler said the ring is probably about 10 years old. It is on display at Swiss Connection Jeweler.

The minimum bid is $12,000.

If it sells, Tobar -- a father of two -- will receive 15 percent of the proceeds. He said he would use the money to visit San Salvador and the man who taught him about honesty.

"I want to see my father," Tobar said. "I haven't seen him for about 10 years."

The auction will remain open until Nov. 19. The highest bid will win. Five bids had been received as of Wednesday.


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