Necklace flushed down toilet returned months later

February 9, 2012 9:50:39 PM PST
Just in time for Valentine's Day, a Bay Area woman's precious necklace has been returned to her. She thought she'd lost it for good when she accidentally flushed it down the toilet.

It was the first Christmas present Ann Aulakh ever received from her husband.

"I never took it off," Aulakh said.

The Italian necklace became more than just a sentimental favorite after her San Rafael home was burglarized several years ago and every piece of jewelry was stolen, except what she had on.

Then early one morning last October, the unthinkable happened.

"Went to the bathroom and hear plop in the toilet," Aulakh said. "Everybody had used the bathroom in the house that morning so I thought, 'I don't know if I want it back."

But yes she did and her friend and neighbor Lynn Kemmeter was confident it would come back because as a former teacher she had taken her classes on tours of the Marin sanitation agency's sewage treatment plant.

"They would show you from the toilet to the bay, the entire process so I knew that necklace was somewhere around here," Kemmeter said.

"We just set up and said, 'Let's take a chance and do a run and see if we can recover it,'" San Rafael Sanitation District spokesperson Bill LeNoue said.

LeNoue had received word about Aulakh's missing necklace and now months later, he found it in the sewer just yards from her house. Lenoue cleaned it and then hand delivered the gold chain.

"He held it up and I was just amazed, totally shocked, actually," Aulakh said.

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