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A stolen ring, returned. How an unsolved robbery built a bond between two Valley women

Posted at 10:20 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-14 12:04:53-05

CHANDLER, AZ — She’s usually always wearing it, but Tuesday, Elvina Ford took off the amethyst and diamond ring her husband gave her six years ago and stuffed it in a backpack.

She then walked into a hair salon off Germann and Gilbert Road in Chandler. Not long after, someone said her car had been broken into.

“So, I got up and I went outside, and there was my car, glass everywhere,” said Ford, noting her back passenger window has been broken. "I noticed my purple book bag was gone.”

She reluctantly told her husband what happened, who was quick to console her and promised to help get her a new ring. Ford though calls it irreplaceable.

She was confident she would never see it again, but not hours after it was stolen, Mary Botha noticed a sparkling purple backpack lying in the middle of a freeway exit.

“I put my hazard lights on looked around me no cars ran across, picked it up and got it in my car because I knew somebody would be looking for it,” said Botha. "I went home that
night, and I did find just one thing of ID in there. It was a Chandler [Unified] School District ID card.”

Botha says she picked up the phone and called as many phone numbers as she could find for both district and school employees, after narrowing down which school Ford worked as a staffer, online.

It took a few messages, but news finally got back to Ford. Her stolen backpack was found. Nothing inside taken, the ring along with other precious jewelry all still sitting inside.

“She just started bawling," said Botha. "God didn’t want them to get your jewelry, he knew how much it meant to you.”

Botha and Ford met that morning and felt an instant connection.

“I don’t feel like I’m that important, but she did make me feel like I was that important,” said Ford.

“We just need to do the right thing and one person can make a difference in this world,” said Botha.