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IDOT workers return stolen jewels

Posted by wlpo on March 6, 2016

Searching dead leaves and snow for jewelry isn’t typical IDOT chores. While cutting trees on Route 89 at Varna February 5th, Troy Gensler and Tim Peterson found a battered jewelry box in the ditch. Inside,  a badge gave Gensler a name to google. He called the Cornell phone number that came with the name. Renee Bantista answered. The IDOT worker told Bantista about his muddy find and she was happy…….but also sad that 2 wedding rings, engraved watch and keepsakes weren’t there.

Bantista said a thief swiped the box one September day while she and husband Paul were away. Gensler eventually said “good-bye”.  But he and co-worker Peterson decided to look that ditch over again.  Over 20 minutes of sifting through hand deep muck uncovered what the Bantista’s desperately wanted.

And, recently, Gensler and Peterson met face to face with Paul and Renee Bantista and,  according to the Pantagraph, officially return the rings, watch and even a 30- year old soggy note from their son.

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