TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Quick action by law enforcement helped track down an East Texas woman's most prized possessions just moments before they were melted down for cash.
The victim, 77-year-old Bonnie Stewart, was paying a man to help her with yard work. She claims he went inside her home when she wasn't watching and pocketed six of her rings. But, she says her prayers were answered when all of her stolen rings were recovered within 24 hours.
"I just cried because one of those rings was the ring that I had lost in my fire 38 years prior to that," said Stewart. "My mother sifted ashes for days and days and found the stones."
"This story, it's just one of those that has a happy ending," said Mark Moore, an investigator for the Upshur County Sheriff's Department.
Stewart says Robert Weesner, 27, came to her house looking for work. Proud of her Day Lilly garden, she asked him to pull weeds.
"I do my own mowing," Stewart explained. "I said, 'I ride the lawn mower and I don't have to have anyone to mow, but...I will let you work for me and help me out in the yard.'"
Stewart says she walked across the street to get her mail. She claims Weesner entered the back door of her home and took her rings.
"He put them in his pocket and of course I didn't know it and he kept working," said Stewart. "That was the only time I wasn't with him."
Stewart says she noticed the rings were missing early the next morning. The crystal case that held the rings was empty.
Stewart called her grandson, a Gilmer police officer, and with the help of the Upshur County Sheriff's Department, the rings were found.
"It was just an hour away from being melted," said Stewart.
"It was just one of those lucky things that we were able to come across the rings and get them back to the owner," said Moore.
"It makes me feel so sad that you can't trust people anymore," said Stewart.
She says she can't wait for the rings to be put back in their place.
The Upshur County Sheriff's Department arrested Robert Weesner. He has been charged with Property Theft and remains in jail.