COLORADO SPRINGS — Trudie Preiss almost always wears her rings, so imagine the shock she felt when she realized they were missing from the desk in her room.
"I felt really bad thinking that maybe I had been careless," said Preiss, assuming she misplaced them.
But she wasn't careless. She was a victim of a crime.
Preiss and her family realized three of her rings had were stolen from her room at The Bridge Assisted Living Facility in Colorado Springs, while the elderly woman had been in the hospital.
The three rings included her engagement and wedding band from her late husband of 60 years.
"It was kind of love at first sight," said Preiss, recounting the moment she met her future husband on a military base.
The second ring she had made from her class ring to encase a pearl gifted to her from her husband while they lived in Japan, and the last ring includes six birthstones to represent each of her children.
After notifying staff member, The Bridge reached out to Colorado Springs Police (CSPD), saying they recently had issues with a former staff member and thought the missing rings might be connected to her.
Officer Nate Ferrari was assigned to Preiss's case. He scanned a database and found the former employee made a pawn on September 17, but he could not confirm the items pawned were Preiss's yet.
After visiting Preiss, he learned the wedding band had an inscription inside. The pawn shop confirmed one of the three rings they had matched that description.
"I bawled, I started to cry," said Lori Trivelli, Preiss's daughter.
Officer Ferrari was able to return the rings to Preiss on October 5, her 98th birthday.
"I'm just blessed to be able to be involved with this," said Officer Ferrari.
He and Preiss have developed a special bond since he solved her case, even bumping into each other by accident at a hospital and snapping a picture together.
Preiss now calls Officer Ferrari her "hero" and "a handsome one."
She also says this case taught her how important it is to file a police report for any items stolen.
Officer Ferrari explains pawn shops do not have to return stolen items, because they have spent money and become victims of a crime too as a result.
Officer Ferrari suggests people keep track of item's serial numbers, take photos of valuable items from multiple angles, and file a police report online here.
The former employee accused of stealing Preiss's rings faces multiple charges, including Crimes Against At Risk Person.
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