A woman was arrested and charged with theft after finding a lost wedding ring in a tanning room, according to court proceedings in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The woman who found the diamond ring, which is estimated to be worth $20,000 in a tanning salon, said she always intended to return the ring. Police and prosecutors were not so sure.
Bonnie Land, the ring finder, recently sued Melisa Boucek, owner of the ring. Land claims that she is owed the reward that was posted on flyers in return for the ring. Instead, she was charged with a crime.
She is claiming breach of contract, fraud and damages, topping $66,500.
Land, 34, of Saint Charles, found the ring, a two-carat yellow diamond surrounded by 27 smaller white diamonds, at a Saint Charles tanning salon.
Jack Banas, who was the prosecutor of Saint Charles at the time and is now a judge of the Circuit Court, said that parts of Land's story did not make sense.
Although initially claiming to have forgotten about the ring, she should have called the salon when she found it again in her pocket of her jacket, he said.
Banas later decided to defer the charges, which are on hold until the statute of limitations are hit in three years. Banas said he made the decision because Land had no criminal record and the ring was recovered.
Missouri law requires that any finder of money, goods or personal property valued at more than $10 must notify the court within 10 days, but the law is not common knowledge or practiced.