Last week a cherished bracelet was stolen right off my wrist in an unusual way, and I'll tell you about it in a minute. But let me put the theft in the context of past losses of all kinds.
I have a history of losing jewelry: necklaces unlatching, pins unpinning, earrings gone missing – I think I have more single earrings than pairs. And of course, the losses always seem to be when I’m wearing the real thing, not the flea market finds.
Some of the losses have been especially puzzling. When my son was a toddler he would sit in my lap and play with my engagement ring, wiggling it back and forth. One November evening I bolted out to grab my dog, who had escaped from the house.
I zigged and zagged around the property and finally picked up the dog. But a couple of minutes later inside my house, I looked down and noticed the setting where a diamond had been, prongs staring back at me like an empty eye socket.
I ran outside in the dark and saw a sprawling lawn covered in autumn leaves. Somewhere under that leafy expanse was a pear-shaped gem. I checked for hours with a flashlight and for days later, and for all I know the diamond is still there, under silent layers of dirt, waiting to be discovered.
I’ve also had jewelry stolen in strange and violent ways, with awful timing. In the late 80s I was in Barcelona standing outside of the Picasso museum at noon with a whole bunch of good jewelry in my purse. I usually traveled with fake stuff but I wanted to please the man I was dating. We had no safe in the room and I figured I'd keep the jewelry with me. Dumb? Yes!
A thief grabbed my purse, and although my partner wrestled him to the ground and I held onto the purse, the strap broke and the thief tossed the purse to his accomplice on a scooter.
And then there was the "smash and grab" heist in Miami under an I-95 overpass one night in the 1990s. My dear aunt had just gifted me with a packet of her finest jewelry. Horrible timing. I was alone, and stopped at a light with a car ahead of me. Suddenly an iron pipe smashed the passenger side window and the thief grabbed my purse, with the packet within. I drove to my friend's house in shock, with glass all over the car seat. The police said I was lucky I wasn't hit in the head.
Last week's theft was not violent but was definitely puzzling and perhaps my weirdest jewelry loss of all. I was with my granddaughters and son, visiting a nature sanctuary called Jungle Island, on the MacArthur Causeway between Miami and Miami Beach.
The excursion was lots of fun for the girls, and I surely didn't expect an expert thief to swiftly remove the heirloom bracelet my husband had given me without my realizing it.
The saving grace is that soon after the theft, a woman tapped me on the shoulder, “Is this yours? I saw it glittering on the ground near where you were standing. It's broken.” Luckily for me the thief had dropped it!
Based on where I was standing, I immediately surmised that there were several possible suspects, including these:
This suspect looks like he could have snapped it up.
This suspect eats anything, maybe even bracelets.
When we got home and looked at the photos of our excursion we realized that my son had taken a photo of the theft as it was occurring! I had proof:
The thief at work! I was so happy to have him on my hand I did not notice then (nor did my son the photographer), that the sneaky bird was speedily removing my bracelet.
Because I had retrieved the broken bracelet I didn’t feel the need to press charges and report the big blue parrot to authorities. I'll bet it’s not his first heist, and be warned if you’re ever at Jungle Island in Miami -- I doubt it will be his last.