A Missouri couple are thanking their local garbage men for pausing their day to dig up two diamond rings from under 10 tons of trash.
Bernie Squitieri said his wife called his office late that Monday morning to tell him that she couldn't find the rings.
Squitieri returned home to help her look, but when they couldn't find the rings, he realized the rings were placed in a white tissue near the sink, which they must have thrown straight in the trash. The garbage truck picked up the trash earlier that same morning.
When Squitieri first called the trash company, they told him there was nothing they could do. The truck was already in line to the incinerator, KMOV reported, and people could not enter the site, since the site is radioactive.
"I said, 'I can't accept that,'" Squitieri told InsideEdition.com. He eventually called the mayor, who requested the company reroute the truck to another location, where the Squitieris could dig through the 10 tons of trash themselves.
On the way, they had already notified the insurance company of the lost rings, as they had been told several times by the garbage company that it was likely a lost cause.
But Squitieris gave it a shot and arrived in white HAZMAT suits, helmets, gloves and boots, not knowing what to expect.
"We look like Ghostbusters in the suit," Squitieri said. When four men from the garbage company came to help them out, Squitieri said they couldn't help but laugh.
Squitieri said they finally began to feel helpless when the trash was unloaded and piled up. The truck that had picked up their rings was a compactor truck, and had 900 stops before it arrived at the station.
"As I'm digging through it, I'm seeing garbage, dirty diapers, milk, soda, water," Squitieri listed. "It was like looking for a needle in a needle stack, not a haystack."
The garbage company told IE.com the only identifier of the trash was that the bag was white, with black drawstrings.
Luckily, their search didn't last long. Squitieri said within 20 minutes, one of the men from the trash company, Joe Evan, began yelling, "I found it, I found it!"
"My wife ran over to him and she started crying," Squitieri said, still stunned that Evan was able to find the rings.
Carla Squitieri's wedding ring and anniversary band, worth a $240,000 in total. (Courtesy of Bernie Squitieri)
The garbage company then told the Squitieris that it was the first time in 30 years they have been able to find items lost in the trash, calling it a "fluke."
Bernie Squitieri told IE.com that he was so elated that gave Evan a cash reward, even though he was reluctant to accept it. "If I had $5,000, I would have even given that."
While the rings were worth a combined total of $240,000, they were priceless to the Squitieris. The rings, one an anniversary band and the other a wedding ring, were heirloom pieces that Carla Squitieri planned to pass on to their 13-year-old daughter.
The wedding ring had a 12.5 karat diamond on the top, while the anniversary band had 7.5 karats worth of diamonds all the way around.
The insurance company also welcomed their once-in-a-lifetime find.
"I got a card the next day saying 'Congratulations, you just saved us $250,000,'" Squitieri laughed.