NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island couple thought their stolen ring was gone for good, but on Thursday night – nearly 42 years later – it was back in their hands.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Stan and Elaine Ostapiak had last seen the gold class ring in 1972. Stan Ostapiak had received the ring in 1962, and he had given it to his then-girlfriend, Elaine, in 1970.
“Just as a token of love, I guess, you know, I gave her my ring,” he said.
But the ring disappeared on their wedding night. It was stolen from a keychain in Elaine Ostapiak’s purse.
They had assumed for years that the ring was gone for good.
“It was definitely the only memory I had left from high school,” Stan Ostapiak said.
But a few weeks ago, they got a phone call saying a young man in Greece found the ring in his father’s possessions after his death.
The father found the gold ring on a beach on the island of Naxos, Greece in 1980.
The ring was returned with a note from around the globe.
“I hope this ring brings you joy and happiness and maybe some old memories,” the note read.
The couple was absolutely stunned.
“How could this be – after almost 42 years?” Elaine Ostapiak said. “And to think that it would ever show up.”
There was a fair amount of detective work involved for the college student in Greece who found the ring. The student Googled Seward Park High School, found the president of the alumni association, and e-mailed him, telling him he had found the ring.
The alumni association president combed the 1962 yearbook to find the name that matched the initials on the ring, and concluded that it must have belonged to Stan Ostapiak.
“He said, ‘I went through the whole book, and you’re the only person whose initials matched up with your name,’” Stan Ostapiak said. “I said, ‘Well, it’s me!’”
Now that the ring is back, Elaine Ostapiak said she plans to keep it in a place a bit more secure.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com: