LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – For months, Teresa Smith went from pawn shop to pawn shop looking for her stolen wedding ring.
She couldn’t believe it on Thursday, when she discovered the ring at a shop on Ulmerton Road in Largo.
Smith is not Teresa’s real last name, as she is fearful the man accused of stealing the ring might try to seek her out.
“I was shaking so bad I thought I was going to pass out,” said Teresa. “I couldn’t breathe when I found it. The pawn shop owner, he is absolutely amazing.”
Teresa’s journey began in December. It was four days before Christmas when she suffered a medical episode that required an ambulance trip to Largo Medical Center.
While she was being checked in, Largo police report, Victor Luis Toro Zayas removed her jewelry. Toro-Zayas is a charge nurse at the hospital.
Two days later, when Teresa was leaving the hospital, all of her jewelry was with her other possessions, minus her wedding ring. She was crushed.
“Oh, I was devastated,” said Teresa. “I’ve been in depression and shock for five months.”
When she finally found the ring, she and the pawn shop owner contacted police. Investigators say the pawn ticket tied the ring to Toro Zayas. When detectives contacted him, he told them he found the ring on the ground and when no one claimed it, he pawned it.
The arrest affidavit indicates investigators asked him why he didn’t turn the ring into hospital security, per policy, and he couldn’t answer the question.
Largo Medical Center issued a statement saying, “Largo Medical Center is committed to providing a safe environment for our patients and caregivers. We are cooperating fully with local law enforcement and appropriate agencies in addition to placing the employee under suspension until further notice.”
Teresa is just happy to have her ring back, but it confident she is not the only victim.
“And I’m praying that they get him on four or five other cases,” said Teresa. “And put him away for a long time.”
Largo police will only say the investigation is ongoing.
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