Paul Humphreys, Author at The Ring Finders

Lost Heirloom/Engagement Ring Found! –Sheboygan Falls, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Life can change in an instant! This proved true for Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, resident Rebecca Rabideaux on the morning of February 12th. It happened the moment she realized her diamond engagement ring was missing from her hand. The ring was also a family heirloom; it had once belonged to her grandmother. Now it was gone.

A sickening feeling whelmed up inside Rebecca as her mind went into a high-speed rewind mode; she tried to envision her every move in the past few days. The ring had been fitting loosely of late, the happy result of shedding some unwanted weight. Nightmarish scenarios flashed across her mind’s screen; the kitchen sink drain, the toilet, the garbage…

One memory sent Rebecca and her fiancé, Drew Wojciehowski, scurrying outside to the driveway with its waist-high piles of snow on either side. Rebecca recalled brushing snow off her car there early one morning. She was in a hurry and hadn’t put her gloves on. Anyone familiar with our North American winter conditions knows how the cold can shrink one’s fingers. Was Rebecca’s ring the victim of a perfect storm—a loose fit made worse by frigid exposure?

Despite their best search efforts, Rebecca and Drew could not locate the missing love token. The next day I received a phone call from Drew asking if I would conduct a search. He had located me on The Ring Finders website. We arranged to meet at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 16th. In the meantime, I urged Drew to keep his fingers and toes crossed!

After an hour and half drive from my home in Waukesha, WI, I arrived in the picturesque city of Sheboygan Falls. When I pulled up in front of the house, Drew was already outside waiting for me.

I left my metal detecting equipment in the car, introduced myself to Drew and listened to his account of where Rebecca’s vehicle was when she brushed snow off it with her bare hand. The garage door was open as he talked and my experienced eyes were already glancing over his shoulder, scanning the snow banks, the driveway and the garage floor. Imagine my surprise when on the concrete just inside the garage I spotted Rebecca’s ring! I walked over, picked it up, and handed it to Drew saying, “I’m thinking this is probably what you are looking for!”

Drew’s jaw dropped as I placed Rebecca’s gorgeous diamond ring into the palm of his cupped hand! Mission accomplished! Drew couldn’t believe they missed seeing it! As for me, this successful ring search ranks second in time only to a ring I once spotted for a client before I even got out of my car!

I’m so glad to have found your ring, Rebecca! And my best wishes on your upcoming wedding to Drew on October 5th—may the story of your ring continue with many, many happy years together.

One-of-a-kind wedding ring found! Wauwatosa, WI.

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Wauwatosa, Wisconsin resident, Betty Jo, lost a one-of-a-kind wedding ring while cleaning up her garden. The ring was designed and created in Thailand many years ago. Betty Jo’s late husband had it made for her. Now it was gone.

I received a phone call from a kindly neighbor friend, Karen. Would I come and search for Betty Jo’s ring?

I met up with Betty Jo the next evening. She was visibly grieving the loss of the ring and all the memories it held. I followed her as she retraced her steps to where she was the moment she suddenly realized her precious ring was missing.

Equipment in hand I worked my way down a row of small bushes, probing the foliage and leaves as I went. Betty JO searched with me. Indeed, the ring suddenly appeared when she raked away some leaves that were covering it.

Mission accomplished!

Lost Wedding Rings Found! – Sussex, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Wedding rings belonging to Sussex, Wisconsin residents, Mark and Shandell Geyer were lost in an overgrown tangle of burdock bushes, vines and raspberry canes at the end of their garden. To make matters worse, the remains of a long forgotten chain-link fence lay partially buried in the mud next to a high-voltage electric cable. These conditions were a metal detectorist’s worst nightmare.

I received an email from Mark asking if I might help. He had rented a metal detector but the conditions proved futile.

My first search attempt was in the dark. After a few hours, it was clear to me that the area would need to be systematically cleared of the growth and metal debris. I arranged a second visit, spending the better part of an afternoon and evening pruning away the brush and extracting old metal pipes, fencing and rubbish. Once cleared, I was finally able to detect the area and adjust the settings on my XP Deus metal detector to minimize the electrical interference, but in the end I had no rings to show for my efforts.

Another week went by while Mark cleared yet another section of brush. I returned a third time to sweep the area. Mark’s hope was reflected in his text to me when he wrote, “Third times a charm!”

When a sweep of the newly exposed area failed to bring the rings to the light of day, I began to seriously entertain the idea that the rings may have been lost elsewhere. Construction of a new house close by threatened to cover the search location with dirt and rocks. The rings would be lost forever if that were the case. As impossible as it seemed, two faint signals on the perimeter of the construction site invited further investigation. And amazingly, Mark’s ring first came to light and then about 8 feet away Shandell’s ring appeared in the muck.

With the precious rings in my pocket, I explained to Mark that the rings were definitely not in the area we had cleared. The disappointment was visibly apparent in his face. While walking towards the construction site, I relayed how I investigated a faint signal beneath a partially buried sediment barrier. Then, pulling the ring from my pocket I said, “This was all it was!” Mark was speechless. I then told how another very faint signal beneath the newly bulldozed dirt pile some 8 feet away prompted another dig. “But,” I explained as I pulled the mud-caked love token from my pocket, “it was just Shandell’s ring!”

Perseverance pays. It was like Mark said, “Third times a charm!”

Lost Platinum Wedding Ring Found! Oconomowoc, WI Yard-Waste Center

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

It was like searching for a proverbial needle in a haystack. But instead of a needle, it was an engraved platinum wedding ring belonging to Oconomowoc, WI resident Steve Nichols. And instead of a haystack, it was a colossal mound of clippings at The Town Yard and Waste Recycling Center.

The ring flew off Steve’s hand and vanished into the mound late Saturday afternoon as he was emptying his pickup truck of yard waste. Despite 5 hours of sifting through all manner of vegetative debris, Steve, his wife, Anne, and friends were unable to locate the missing love token. Even with the use of a rented metal detector it could not be found. The detector emitted a cacophony of indistinguishable chirping sounds, which only added to the Nichols’ frustration.

The following morning, Steve and Anne returned to the mound and resumed their search; three discouraging hours later, no ring. That’s when Anne contacted a Wisconsin member of The Ring Finders Directory, Dan Roekle, who in turn pointed her to me since I lived closer.

I made arrangements to meet with Steve and Anne on location. After showing me the sequence of events that led up to the ring’s loss, I began a search of the perimeter and surface area of the formidable mound. As I began to cover the area where the truck had been parked, a faint signal was heard which invited careful excavation of material. With each pass the audible signal increased and data, now visible on my XP Deus screen, was consistent with the denseness of platinum. Finally, the source of the signal proved to be none other than Steve’s ring!

The search took all of 15 minutes!

Thanks Steve and Anne, for the joy and privilege of finding and returning your precious wedding ring. May its story (which now includes being buried and lost in a humongous pile of yard clippings and then beyond all odds found), continue for many, many happy years to come.

Lost Keepsake Ring Found! Dousman, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Dousman, Wisconsin, resident Sarah Weishar was enjoying a swim with family and friends at a local lake, that is until she felt her petite gold and birthstone ring slip from her finger into the watery depths. But it was the ring’s threefold sentimental value that made the loss so acute—it was both a birthday gift and a commemoration gift, the latter being Sarah’s confirmation at church; the ring, with its cross and birthstone served as a tangible token of the fact she is a precious child of God and as such, to respect herself. Thirdly, the ring would remind her of a dearly loved cousin, Conner, who had sadly passed away; the ring spoke of his presence with her still and of his preciousness to her family.

After searching for hours, it seemed to Sarah her keepsake ring was lost forever.

It was later that she discovered The Ring Finders website directory of metal-detecting specialists. That’s when I received an email from Sarah asking if I could assist. There was a sense of urgency in her words that betrayed the pain of loss. It was as though I was her last hope.

After arriving on location it became apparent that the spot where the ring went missing was not so definitive. Underwater searches are challenging, especially when volleyball-court sized areas and larger are involved. It requires time and patience to execute a systematic grid-search, overlapping the search pattern so as not to miss any signals.

The lake quickly bore testimony to its popularity with local swimmers—there were coins galore! It has always bemused me why people swim with pockets full of loose change! Were there hidden underwater vending machines of which I was unaware? It took time to extract the coins but it was necessary to make sure Sarah’s tiny ring wasn’t hiding out with a nickel or a quarter. The Wisconsin lake also held its share of beer-bottle caps.

Darkness was fast closing in when a faint signal invited further examination. I extracted a scoop of sand and stones in my sieve and then swept over the excavation site with the coil of my Minelab Excalibur detector. The silence in my headphones confirmed that the source of the faint signal was now in my scoop. After sifting through the material there lay Sarah’s ring—mission accomplished! Now for the fun part…

I waded to shore where Sarah and her Mom and friends waited expectantly. They huddled around as I dug deep into my pocket and pulled out a fistful of coins. Then I produced a bottle cap. But what they didn’t know was that I had discretely slipped Sarah’s ring beneath it. “Here’s a Wisconsin souvenir for you,” I said as I placed the cap in her open hand. The puzzled look on Sarah’s face was predictable. Finally, like a magician, I whisked the cap away exposing the ring!

I just love how the mood changes when a ring is found! Smiles tell the rest of the story. It is what makes this hobby so enjoyable.

Thank you, Sarah, for allowing me the privilege of searching for and finding your precious ring. May its threefold story, now with a fourth, continue for many years to come.

Lost Platinum Wedding Band Found! – Pewaukee, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Pewaukee resident, Casey Williams, was enjoying a Sunday afternoon beach volleyball game with friends at Balmer Park when his heavy platinum wedding band came up missing. Despite an extensive search in the sand the ring could not be found.

I received a call from Casey the next morning and we made arrangements to meet on location that evening.

I arrived ahead of Casey and so began to do a grid search in the first of two volleyball courts. A child’s Matchbox truck came to light as well as a dime. The rest of the court was quiet until my XP Deus let out a solid bark. Approximately 5 inches deep in the sand Casey’s ring came to the light of day once again.

A short time later, Casey arrived. When I presented him with the little toy truck to keep as a souvenir, I could tell by the look in his face that Casey was disappointed. Then I handed him what he really hoped I would find—his ring!

It was great to locate and return your precious ring, Casey.

TESTIMONIAL – “When I lost my platinum wedding ring, I was nervous to trust someone I had never met with not only finding the ring, but especially being honest about it. There are many scenarios that played out in my head, but thankfully the reality was that Paul proved himself to be extremely competent and just as trustworthy. While I hope I don’t need his services again, I’m very glad that I have his contact information!” Casey Williams, Pewaukee, Wisconsin

Lost Wedding Ring Found! – Simmons Island Beach, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

An afternoon of summertime fun and relaxation for Illinois residents, Brian and Stephanie Barsotti and daughter, Isabella, ended suddenly when Stephanie’s custom-designed, platinum wedding ring was knocked off her finger by a tennis ball. The ring subsequently disappeared into the waters of Lake Michigan.

The loss was made all the more gut wrenching since Stephanie’s Great Aunt Rita, who passed away four years ago, had gifted the emerald-cut diamond to her for her engagement. Now it seemed to be gone forever.

A sleepless, emotional night ensued. The pain of loss was acute; the ring was one of the most precious “things” Stephanie treasured. Brian had created the setting fourteen and half years ago. The couple was already planning their upcoming 15th wedding anniversary. This, and the sentimental attachment to Stephanie’s Great Aunt, made the loss almost unbearable for Stephanie.

In an email to her Facebook friends, Stephanie wrote of her loss, “Maybe it’ll wash up in a week or a year or 5 years from now and someone else will enjoy my treasure. Maybe some kind person will come across my beautiful ring and want to help find who it belongs to.”

Reaching out to her friends paid off! One of them pointed Brian and Stephanie to the “kind” people listed on The Ring Finders directory of metal-detecting specialists.

I received an email from Stephanie followed by a phone call the following afternoon. Would I help? Within a few hours I made the hour and a quarter drive to Kenosha, Wisconsin and met up with the Barsotti family on location at Simmons Island Beach. After an hour of searching with my Minelab Excalibur, the precious ring found its way into my sieve. I waded back to the shore and after making pretense of needing more information I presented Stephanie with her stunning ring. Needless to say, the family was ecstatic! Hugs ensued. More hugs ensued. And did I mention that more hugs ensued! Got to love this hobby! 🙂

Brian and Stephanie, may the story of your ring, and all its treasurable memories, continue for many years to come. Thank you too for your generous reward.

If you know someone who has lost a ring or other sentimental jewelry item, chances are it is still there, waiting to be found. Contact a member of The Ring Finders near you. Who knows, you might find yourself hugging a total stranger!

TESTIMONIAL: Right before school started we decided to take a drive to Simmons Island Beach in Kenosha, WI. My husband, daughter and I enjoyed 2.5 hours in the water and sun until our game of monkey in the middle turned into a nightmare. The tennis ball hit my ring finger in such a way that my wedding ring popped off and landed in Lake Michigan. My heart sunk as we searched, the sand moving between our toes, and we came up empty handed. After hours of tears and not being able to sleep I took to social media and made a public post. Some kind folks suggested we contact The Ring Finders, which lead us to Paul Humphreys. Paul met us on a moments notice where I lost my precious ring. With his equipment and big heart he combed the waters for nearly 90 minutes and just when I thought he was calling it quits, he produced my ring in his angel-like hand. My nightmare turned miracle! I am forever grateful to Paul and hope my story trickles out there so others know about this heartfelt service he and The Ring Finders are doing for folks who lose their precious treasures.” Stephanie Barsotti

Lost Wedding Ring Found! – Kohler-Andrae State Park, WI.

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Stevens Point residents, Allen and Debbie Baker, were camping at Wisconsin’s Kohler-Andrae State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan August 12. Allen set his heavy tungsten wedding ring on a towel for safe keeping on the beach while he was swimming. But as they left and the towel was gathered up with the rest of the Baker’s belongings, the ring was inadvertently sent flying into the dry sand. Despite their best search efforts, the love token eluded discovery.

Debbie contacted me on The Ring Finder’s directory of metal-detecting specialists. After an hour’s drive, we met on location just as the sun was setting and I prepared to search the area where they had spent their afternoon together.

It didn’t take long for a strong signal to register in my headphones and a quick recovery followed. One wedding ring—reunited with its owner! Mission accomplished!

Lost Wedding Ring Found! – Mequon, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Andre Bilak, of Mequon, WI, was installing a vapor barrier in a crawl space when his wedding ring went missing. In his own words, “I was hand shoveling pea gravel… and after several hours of moving and replacing pea gravel I noticed I no longer had my wedding ring.”

It didn’t take me long to detect the area in question. I was 99.9% sure the ring was not where Andre thought it was. In questioning Andre further, he mentioned cleaning paint from his hands near a garden shed behind his house. I asked him to take me there. Sure enough, there lay his ring in the grass where it had fallen in front of the shed.

This is a case where forensic questioning paid off. A timeline of activities helps to narrow the search areas and led to investigation of an area Andre had not thought about.

So glad we were successful, Andre!

Key Ring Found and Returned! Elm Grove, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

This is a ring find of a different sort. Let me explain.

I’ve been a metal-detecting enthusiast since 1976. You could say I have developed a keen ‘eye’ for lost jewelry items, sometimes spotting missing rings in advance of my metal detector’s coil. When this happens it creates a conundrum. Does it count as a legitimate find since my eyes saw the target first and not my detector? There are metal-detecting purists out there who might cry fowl at the thought. But hear me out.

Harnessing electronic wizardry with the intent to peer into the realm of the unseen and to ferret out hidden treasures from their hiding places is what makes metal detecting such a delightful hobby. Whether a search is on land, in snow, in lakes or in pounding ocean surfs, the first glimmer of gold causes one’s heart to skip a beat. But there is another thrill that takes this hobby to a whole different level, a higher level if you please—e.g., returning lost items to their owners! At its core, this is what makes The Ring Finders such a unique service.

A case in point is my latest ‘ring’ find.

Last night my metal-detecting eyes spied a fully loaded key ring splayed out on the road in the middle of a busy intersection in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. I thought to myself, “Someone is surely going to panic when they discover all those keys missing! I’d sure hate to be in their shoes.” Then my Ring Finder instincts kicked in. I managed to get my vehicle off to the side of the road and then when it was safe, I darted out into the intersection, grabbed the key ring and scrambled back to my car with my treasure in hand… and my body intact.

Upon closer examination, the only piece identification I could see was a small bar-coded rewards tag from the automotive parts company, O’Reilly’s. So I went online, found a local O’Reilly’s store and rang its office. ‘Joe,’ answered. When I explained my strange circumstances he asked for the tag number, promising he would telephone the owner. Unfortunately the phone listing was no longer in service. But there was one remaining hope; Joe texted me the owner’s name and email address connected to the tag. I took a photo of the key ring and emailed it to one, Chris Paulino and waited for a response. I didn’t have to wait long.

My cell phone rang about five minutes later. It was Chris. And yes, he was the surprised but overjoyed owner! We arranged to meet the next morning at construction site where he worked. There the key ring with all its keys and O’Reilly Rewards tag was safely returned. Mission accomplished!

You know, whether the lost keys were detected by a machine or by keen eyes, the end result was the return of a precious item to its rightful owner. In my book of smiles, the recovery and return of this ring of keys is at least deserving of an honorable mention. And kudos to a very cooperative Joe at O’Reilly’s; his help made all the difference.

Thanks Joe.