Return of stolen Wittenberg class ring elates alumni family
Red. The color of love. The color of Wittenberg. The color of a ruby catching the eye of Sgt. Stephen Watt of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department.
“It was on a “Y” of a branch as if someone had placed it there,” said Watt, describing the 1952 ruby-stone class ring he found in his west Cincinnati back yard last fall.
Watt and another officer were trimming back one of Watt’s trees in order to see an upcoming fireworks display when Watt glanced down and noticed something red and shiny sitting upright.
Upon closer inspection, he discovered that it was a Wittenberg class ring belonging to the late Tony DiRocco, ’52. DiRocco’s wife, Shirley, ’52, had given the ring to their son, Tom, ’82, after his father’s death in March 1983.
Unfortunately, Tom’s house was broken into about five years after the funeral, and the ring was stolen, along with a number of other items.“I never thought I would see the ring again,” Tom said.
His mother thought the same until Watt phoned her last fall after finding her number through Wittenberg. “I immediately called Tom and said I had an incredible story to tell him,” Shirley said.
Tom said the story floored him.
“It was an amazing story,” he said. Watt agreed. “It was stolen on the east side of Cincinnati and was found on the completely opposite side of the city,” he said.
The three speculate that the burglar(s) could not sell the ring because of the inscription.
The police have no confirmed suspects, but that doesn’t concern the family as much as having the ring back.“For my mom, it was something she cherished. She just held it in her hand all evening,” Tom explained.
“It also meant a lot to me, but I wanted her to have it for a while.”