PEI

Widow says she didn't realize rings were in board game she donated to thrift store

A P.E.I. woman believes the $17,000 in diamond rings found in a board game purchased at Value Village by an Australian couple visiting the Island are the ones she lost three years ago. She's optimistic she'll get them back.

Aussie couple found $17K in jewelry inside game they bought at Value Village

Orlanda Drebit shows her engagement ring — one of the rings she had lost — in a photo from her wedding day in 1991. (Submitted by Orlanda Drebit)

Orlanda Drebit remembers the MindTrap game. She even remembers shaking it and hearing an odd sound.

What the Island woman doesn't remember is hiding $17,000 worth of diamond rings — including her engagement and wedding rings — in the game three years earlier.

So she says she just tossed the game in with the other stuff she donated to Value Village in Charlottetown a couple of months ago.

"I do remember picking up the MindTrap game and hearing jiggling," Drebit recalled Friday in an interview with CBC's As It Happens.

But why would she have thought the rings were in the MindTrap box? In her mind they were long gone, probably lost in 2015 when she was changing out of wet jeans on P.E.I.'s north shore.

She says she even collected insurance money for them. Case closed.

Niece recognized ring

But now, it appears she may get her precious jewelry back.

Orlanda Drebit says she has messaged the couple who found her rings and expects to get them back soon. (Submitted by Orlanda Drebit)

She got a call on Friday from her niece, who saw a story on social media about an Australian couple who were visiting P.E.I. in September and bought a MindTrap game at Value Village — and were surprised to find seven rings inside. Drebit says her niece recognized one as an opal Drebit received from her mother-in-law on her wedding day.

I just thank them from the bottom of my heart.— Orlanda   Drebit

"She's like, 'So those rings you lost, one was an opal, it was Grammie's right?'" Drebit said.

"And she said, 'Did you drop them off at Value Village in a MindTrap game?'"

Drebit didn't know what her niece was talking about. But her niece filled her in.

'Immeasurable' value

Drebit saw the photo of the rings on the couple's Facebook page and says she immediately recognized them as the ones she had lost.

She has messaged the couple, who are now in Ontario, and hopes to get the rings back soon. She says she's also been in touch with her insurance agent in case she has to pay back the money she received.

Orlanda Drebit and her husband, Donald Sutherland, on their wedding day. He died nine years ago. (Submitted by Orlanda Drebit)

Getting the rings back now, nine years after her husband's death, "would be immeasurable in terms of the value to me," she said.

She said she's grateful the Australian couple, Chris Lightfoot and Mandy Flack, went public with their discovery.

In future, she'll find a better place to hide her valuables when she goes out for the night.

"I'm just thinking what an idiot I am, actually. They were so close to me all of this time and I gave them to Value Village. And I guess the other part of me is thinking that this was meant to be, that somebody that is honest like this young couple, Chris and his partner, because not everybody would do that.

"So I just thank them from the bottom of my heart."

More P.E.I. news

With files from As It Happens

About the Author

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

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