It wasn't until the day after packing up a bundle of cardboard for recycling that Sandy Sleppin, a 49-year-old sports paraphernalia dealer in Commack, N.Y., noticed his cherished gold pinky ring was missing. The ring, set with seven diamond chips (which Sleppin says honors his Yankees hero, Mickey Mantle) was given to Sleppin 31 years ago by his father.
Sleppin set out on a two-day quest to track down the precious artifact, culminating with a slog through 350 tons of paper and cardboard at the 12,000-square-foot Smithtown Municipal Services Facility. Unfortunately, the ring appeared lost. That was until Sleppin received a call the following day from Doug Hallock, foreman of the Smithtown recycling facility. Joe Schook, a recycling worker, discovered the ring when he noticed a glint between two pieces of cardboard while sorting material on a conveyor belt.
Had the ring not been found, it might have wound up in a Canadian paper mill … or perhaps Mount Doom.