Eastern Wake News

Stolen nearly 25 years ago, missing class ring reunited with owner

When you lose something – even something sentimental – you move on after 24 years.

That’s what Judy Arnold had done after a 1992 break-in at her home in which a thief took several pieces of jewelry, including her Vaiden Whitley High School Class of 1973 ring.

But on Tuesday, she was turning back the clock and sliding that ring back on her finger after an Emit man posted photos of the ring on Facebook.

Cliff Wilder found the ring not long after it was stolen. He thought he knew who the ring belonged to, but when he asked a woman about it, she said she didn’t graduate from Vaiden Whitley.

So, Wilder put the ring in a dresser drawer and forgot about it. Over the years, Wilder moved the ring, and lot of other small stuff, to a storage unit.

Recently, though, Wilder began cleaning out the storage unit and he came across the ring again. He decided to use the networking power of Facebook to see if anyone might know who the ring belonged to.

It took less than a day to find the rightful owner. Wilder posted the photos Tuesday morning and by Tuesday afternoon Judy Arnold’s husband, David, had contacted Wilder and identified the ring.

He gave it to his wife Tuesday night when she got home from work.

Wilder, who graduated from Southern Nash High School in 1995, says he found the ring in the early 90s. He said he couldn’t remember where he found it, but he was glad to have found the rightful owner.

“It’s great that people knew who she was,” said Wilder. The ring included the initials J.A.G. David Arnold said his wife was the only member of the class who had those initials and when he saw the photos on Facebook he was pretty certain it was the long-lost ring. “When I looked at the photos, the ring looked gold instead of the white gold the ring had been, but one of the photos had her initials in it and I knew that was hers,” David Arnold said.

Judy Arnold had gotten a call from her sister about the ring before she came home Tuesday night, but she said it was still shocking to see the ring when she got home. “I really couldn’t believe it. I told them at work today that I should have gone out and bought a lottery ticket yesterday,” Judy Arnold said.

Finding the lost ring also came with one other pleasant surprise.

When she slid the ring on her finger, it still fit.

Johnny Whitfield: 919-829-4823, @_JWhitfield