The Things Left Behind
By Laura Johnson
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
Finding something on the Spokane Craigslist lost-and-found page is a crapshoot. One site poster wants his maroon bowling ball back, no questions asked. Another South Hill parent hopes their child’s Elsa doll can be returned as soon as possible. Most of the listings involve missing pets. But Luke Schlining is in the business of helping people find their expensive metal items. And as his Craigslist post says, he’ll take a stab at finding your missing engagement ring for free.
“I don’t want people to call me, to be honest,” Schlining says. “That means something important is lost.”
The metal detecting enthusiast has looked for metallic treasure since his teens, but about four years ago he stumbled upon the Ring Finders website, first started in Canada. Now the 30-year-old Spokane Valley resident is one of the American Ring Finders searching for people’s jewelry in their backyards or a snowbank, or off the side of a boat (he’s scuba certified).
“In water and beaches, it’s a needle in the haystack. You have to know what you’re doing,” he says, admitting that plenty of times his searches come up short.
But Schlining continues to volunteer his time and metal detector, because when it does work out, the reward is invaluable.
“I’m meeting tons of nice people through this,” he says. “It’s my way of giving back to the community.”
When it comes to your precious jewelry, his best advice is never to take off your rings. “That’s when people get into trouble, every time,” he says.