MODESTO, CA - Several Modesto wastewater employees are under investigation for selling thousands of dollars worth of gold jewelry they found in the city's sewer system.
A routine audit of a Modesto precious metals dealer's records made police suspicious about the origin of the jewelry presented over multiple months by the city workers.
Yvonne Brawley, a supervisor at Modesto Gold, Jewelry and Coins, said the employees were upfront about the source of the gold.
"It came from the city sewer traps and they cleaned it up," Brawley said. "Some of it wasn't gold and some of it was."
Modesto police chief Galen Carroll told the Modesto Bee he wasn't sure if a crime had been committed, but he believes the public employees had a duty to turn over the found gold to the city.
Carroll said a report would be submitted to the district attorney without a recommendation about whether charges should be filed.
People at the store that bought the sewer jewelry don't see why police are making such a fuss about it.
"You know the old saying, 'finders, keepers?'" chuckled James Brawley as he counted rare coins brought in by a collector.
Carroll told the Bee it doesn't appear the public works employees violated any city rules by keeping the gold they found in the sewer.
He said a policy is being developed to address similar situations in the future.
By George Warren, GWarren@news10.net