Bonnie Land was expecting a reward when she found an expensive diamond ring in a tanning salon individual booth. Instead of being compensated for returning it, she got arrested.
Land, of St. Charles, Missouri, stumbled upon Melisa Boucek's $20,000 (€15,200) diamond ring. The jewel is adorned with a two-carat yellow diamond and 27 smaller white diamonds.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that she knew right away it was genuine.
“I thought to myself, with just feeling it, that it was a real ring,” she says.
She claims she intended to bring it to the front desk as she exited the booth, but forgot about it after placing it in a jacket pocket, and took it home with her.
Boucek realized she had left it at the salon, and declared it missing. After contacting the police, she put up a sign at the beauty salon, advertising a $3,000 (€2,200) reward in exchange for the ring.
The owners of the business tried to get in touch with all the customers, including Land; however, she had moved and could not be reached.
She allegedly figured out she still had it when she next wore the jacket but was too embarrassed to bring it back.
“I felt so guilty about having it that I just rolled it up in some tissue and put it in a back pocket of my purse. [...] I didn’t know how to take it back,” she said.
When she returned to the salon, she asked her roommate to call the owner and met her to return it. Instead of receiving a reward, she met police there. They questioned her and, six weeks later, she was arrested for stealing it.
Then St. Charles County prosecutor Jack Banas deferred acting on the charges for three years, until the statute of limitations for the felony expires.
Now, Land is suing Boucek for failing to reward her, under breach of contract. She is also accusing her of fraud and asking for damages of $66,500 (€50,000).