Three Modesto city employees investigated for selling jewelry they found while cleaning city sewers will not be charged with a crime.
Police said an investigation revealed the employees found gold rings and other jewelry while cleaning sewer pipes during the course of their employment.
The jewelry was sold to Modesto Gold, Jewelry and Coins for a grand total of $2,500, according to Modesto police.
Police said at least one of the employees was wearing a city uniform during repeated transactions at Modesto Gold, Jewelry and Coins.
After an investigation, police handed over the case to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors later dropped the case after determining the jewelry was no longer recognizable.
"There's a law that states if you find lost property you should try to return it to the legal owners," said Sgt. Ivan Valencia, of the Modesto Police Department. “It was no longer recognizable. There was no longer an ability to return it to the original owner.”
Valencia added that besides the Modesto Police Department, other city departments do not have a written policy that state what employees should do if they find valuables while on the job.
"It’s something the city needs to look into. I'm assuming change will come from this," he said.
The three city employees will not lose their jobs because of the investigation and will get to keep the cash.