Colby class ringIt was Sept. 15. Officer Scott D. Uhlman of the Brockton (Mass.) Police Department was talking to an evidence officer at police headquarters. The officer’s desk drawer was open, and Uhlman spotted a college ring originally brought in with some stolen jewelry recovered in the 1980s.

Uhlman saw that it was from Colby, Class of 1978. The initials were KAC with Greek letters etched in the stone. “I looked at it and I said, ‘Hey, can I see if I can return this to the guy?’” Uhlman said. Turns out this cop was a bit of a ringer.

Uhlman’s hobby is metal detecting, sweeping beaches and parks for jewelry and coins. He even has a submersible metal detector he uses at the beach in Florida. “The ocean has a tendency to suck things off of people,” he said.

He’s found four other school rings and returned three. “One of them was from a Catholic school from 1932 that’s since closed and the building is demolished.” That ring he still has.

So Uhlman went online. He found “the director of alumni data or whatever her title is. I said, ‘That’s the lady. She’ll know.’”

The lady was Martha McCarthy, who once also had the informal title Finder of Lost Alumni. Uhlman gave McCarthy the class year and initials. She asked where he’d found it and he replied, “I could tell you but I’d have to kill you.” And laughed.

McCarthy ran a database search and within five minutes was on the phone with Kurt Cerulli ’78, who runs a financial services company in Boston. “I said, ‘This might seem strange, but have you lost your Colby ring?’”

Cerulli picks up the tale: “I said, ‘Well, it is possible, but it was stolen thirty-two years ago.’”

He was a student at Boston University law school. “I was at the bowling alley at BU. I took off my ring and my wallet and my college roommate’s Colby letter jacket. I put them on the back of my chair when I went up to bowl, and when I turned around they were gone.”

The jacket and wallet never turned up. But the ring arrived in the mail Sept. 18. “I ordinarily wouldn’t think of wearing a college ring at this stage of my life, but I couldn’t resist putting it on,” Cerulli said. “And I’m still wearing it.”

Cerulli wrote the Brockton police chief a note commending Uhlman, but Officer Uhlman shrugged off the praise. “Hey,” he said. “It’s not like a piece of costume jewelry where you can look at it and say, ‘Ah, that’s junk. Just throw it away.’ It’s important to somebody.”