KINGSTON TWP. — One Shavertown resident’s treasured family memento was found along the shore of the Susquehanna River recently.
Lauren Carey though she would never again see a pendant her late uncle gave her as a wedding gift. Then a phone call from a good samaritan changed everything.
Carey’s stories starts back in July 2015. She fell asleep in the back seat of her car driven by her new husband, Brandon, in which her brother Joey Collini and cousin Joe Collini were passengers.
The group was returning home after attending a friend’s annual summer party. Carey recalled they stopped at Turkey Hill on Route 415 in Dallas Township for snacks.
“I was kind of sleeping, but I was slightly aware of what was going on,” she said.
She felt a car door open and a “male presence” near her, but she assumed it was her cousin. When they returned home, she went to bed, unaware that anything was amiss.
In the morning, she went to get her purse, and it was gone.
“I put two-and-two together,” Carey said. “I called Turkey Hill and asked them to take a look at their security cameras. We parked in the front.”
Turkey Hill employees turned her requests down time and time again.
Carey also called the police department to file a report. She was told that her purse probably was not stolen, and there was no need to file a report.
“No one took me seriously,” she said.
Inside the missing purse, she had about $60, a wallet, an iPhone6, and most importantly, the pendant.
Carey received the piece of jewelry as a wedding gift a month earlier on June 26, 2015. The pendant was once owned by her uncle, Robert Collini, who was a supreme court judge in New York.
“He passed away two months before my wedding,” she said. “He was supposed to marry us.”
Nearly a year later, the treasured item was found in an unlikely place and thoughtfully returned.
The good samaritan, Tim Stanitis, told Carey he was riding his quad along the river bank near Plymouth when he noticed an unusual blob of mud. Upon further inspection, he discovered it was a woman’s purse.
He fished out the cell phone, wallet and identification cards out of the river mud-coated purse. He intended to track down the owner.
“He left the purse and the rest of the contents there,” she said.
When he went to work, he told a colleague, Michelle Gumble, what he found. Little did he know that Gumble was friends with Carey.
Gumble texted Carey with the good news. Carey was thrilled to hear her stolen purse was found.
When Stanitis and Carey did connect, she asked if it would be possible for him to get the purse for her.
Stanitis brought the mud-caked purse in a plastic bag to Carey’s home earlier this week.
“We dumped it out on the porch,” she said. “There were bugs everywhere.”
Carey sifted through the items: included were a Tide pen, hand sanitizer — and the pendant.
“It is almost as good as new,” she said.
Carey estimates whoever stole her purse took the $60, zippered the bag shut and tossed it into the Susquehanna River.
She is very grateful for Stanitis’ honesty and thoughtfulness.
Attempts to reach Stanitis for comment were unsuccessful before deadline.