Officer replaces elderly woman's engagement ring after theft at - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Officer replaces elderly woman's engagement ring after theft at hospital

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PLANTATION, Fla. (WSVN) -- A police officer made a generous gesture and helped an elderly hospital patient who lost something dear to her in a heartless crime.

When Arthur Wagner asked Betty to be his bride in the summer of 1946, he said, "She said, 'Yes.' I remember I bought it at Zales jewelry. I paid $400 for it," said Wagner.

The engagement ring and wedding band was placed on Betty's left finger and has been there for 67 years, until last Saturday when her yellow gold diamond engagement ring went missing. "I came in the morning, and I'm holding her hand, talking to her, and the ring is gone," said Wagner.

Weak with advancing Alzheimer's, Betty was sedated in a hospital bed at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation. "From the bruises on her finger that looked like both rings were pulled off, and the wedding band was put back on," said Wagner. "I just tear up. It was tough."

Plantation Police sent over officer Laurie Graber to investigate the case. "After 67 years of that ring being on her finger, she still looked at him like he was her knight in shinning armor, and he looked at her like she was still his young bride," said Graber.

Wagner and Graber felt helpless after Betty's ring was stolen and in the hands of a thief. "I just couldn't imagine what kind of depravity you would have to have to take something off of someone so vulnerable," said Graber.

Graber felt something needed to be done so, "I went to J.C. Penney, and I bought a small ring, and I took it back to the hospital, and I left a little note."

"The nurses at the nurse station they come and they said, 'The officer that was here yesterday, she left you this,'" said Wagner. "A promise kept for 67 years is worth something."

Betty's original engagement ring is gone, but Wagner is still at her bedside along with her new ring.

Wagner said the new ring has helped ease the pain.

Plantation Police is checking the hospital's surveillance video to see if they can catch anyone in the act.

If you have any information on this theft, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.


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