Last week, a young woman dumpster diving for recyclables behind a car wash near Salt Lake City, Utah, found parcels containing two loose diamonds worth $8,000. But, instead of pawning the gems and netting the biggest payday of her life, she decided to do the right thing by tracking down the rightful owner.
Brooke Stewart, a single mother of one and a self-proclaimed garbage lover, told a reporter from KUTV that she regularly digs through dumpsters late at night in an effort to collect plastics and metals that she can turn into cash.
“It may sound weird, but I love trash,” Stewart told KUTV. “Mostly I look for recyclable metals like copper and stuff.”
Last week, she hit the mother lode behind a Millcreek car wash when two trashed envelopes yielded appraisal certificates and parcels containing two round white diamonds, each weighing approximately 1 carat.
Stewart could have pawned the diamonds, netting a bounty estimated to be $4,000 to $8,000. “I really am broke and would have enjoyed that much money,” Stewart told KUTV.
Instead, the young woman contacted the firm noted on the appraisal certificates.
Lynn Van Wagenen, who wrote the original appraisals seven years ago, was impressed by Stewart’s character. “I just kept looking at her, thinking, ‘What kind of a person does this,’” said Van Wagenen. "She could have thrown away the appraisals, gone to a pawn shop and gotten anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 for these diamonds, but she chose not to.”
Van Wagenen contacted the original owner and arranged for him to meet his Good Samaritan near the dumpster where she found the diamonds. Last Friday, the owner thanked Stewart for her honesty, shook her hand and gave her a cash reward.
Apparently, the diamonds had been stolen — along with other items — from the man’s home seven years ago. How they ended up in a dumpster may remain a mystery forever.
"I hope this brings me some karma," Stewart said of her experience.
Stewart is not the first dumpster diver to be featured in our blog. In November 2014, we told you the story of a California woman who was miraculously reunited with the custom-made diamond ring she accidentally threw away when cleaning out her car at a gas station.
The hero of that story was another extraordinarily honest dumpster diver who sought the assistance of the Porterville Police Department to identify the rightful owner.
Photos: KUTV screen captures