A day at the beach is a great stress buster. Unfortunately, sometimes tension isn’t the only thing to disappear. Jewelry, car keys and cell phones are often lost to sand and surf.
Enter Jeff Laag, a member of the New Jersey chapter of Ring Finders, a network of metal detectors dedicated to locating lost metallic valuables. Laag’s turf is the southern end of the Shore, including inland areas.
Summer is Laag’s busy season. That’s when watches, necklaces and rings come off at the beach—and are swallowed in the sand. “People are panic stricken,” says Laag . “The main thing I hear is, ‘I’ll never see it again.’”
Since becoming a ring finder in 2015, Laag, 37, a Cape May firefighter, has made about 80 recoveries. One memorable find involved a Cape May woman named Joy Magnusson, who lost a ring her husband had given her after the birth of their twin boys, one of whom did not survive. The dual-birthstone and diamond ring went missing on the Howard Street beach in Cape May. Using his metal detector, Laag found the ring in minutes.
If you lose something, Laag says, immediately note the time of day and tide position, and line up the general location with a stationary landmark, such as a house. Then go to their website to identify one of New Jersey’s 17 finders. Some are available day or night. One couple contacted Laag early one morning to locate a custom-made sapphire and topaz necklace lost on a Cape May beach during a 4:30 am tryst.
Laag and other finders don’t charge for their work, but will accept tips.
“Reuniting people with something they thought was lost forever is the most rewarding part,” says Laag.Click here to leave a comment