Backstory: The story of an unlocked car and a mystery ring
(Page 2 of 2)
As people pine for answers, the Westborough Police Department has become the unwitting narrator in a novel everyone wants to know the resolution to. After all, no one else is talking. Whom else do you call?Skip to next paragraph
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All this is testing the patience of a department that would rather be solving thefts than talking to producers from Australian TV. The department sits on a quiet street lined with Queen Anne and Greek Revival homes in a town first settled in 1675. On this day, the waiting area - just a few chairs and a few brochures on local elderly services - stands empty. Not the kind of a place used to being in the grip of a national story.
"No comment," bellows one lieutenant to his colleague, who was en route to tell yet another visitor that no more press inquiries about the "ring story" are being accepted.
Two visits later, however, and Lt. Paul Donnelly is talking. At least a little. The lieutenant, whose inbox is topped with a photo of the ring, marvels at the momentum of the story, which has come in between officers trying to handle burglar alarms and ambulance calls. "In 33 years I have never seen anything like it," he says.
Across the street, in a classic New England downtown of brick buildings that evoke an earlier time when sleighs and straw hats were made here, Ed Healy, who owns Westborough Spectacle Shoppe, eagerly shares his hypotheses. He first heard about it from the buzz in the store. But late that night he and his wife got talking. "I thought the worst," he says. "It seems really sad that someone would give up that ring, someone had to be heartbroken."
He says his wife has a less morbid view, that unrequited love alone could have precipitated such a dramatic move. "It was a pretty in-depth conversation," he says. "Ten minutes. That's pretty long after 34 years of marriage."
Around the corner, Faris Casten is less eager to talk about the story, but then says what's on her mind. "It's a sad story," says Ms. Casten, cleaning flowerpots and arranging displays for the holiday rush. "People are talking about it like it's the best thing since sliced bread."
She says that if it had just been a matter of rejection, the man would likely want the money back. "He wouldn't just give it to anybody in a parking lot," she theorizes.
But these days, it's no longer just any parking lot. It's now a lot of fantasy. On a recent weekday morning, at about the same time the anonymous commuter would have been traveling, Mr. Atamian sits in his black Honda, the engine running, as he waits for the train. He looks out at hundreds of cars that fill every single space.
He, like everyone else, still has so many questions. How did the guy know which car to choose? Did he go car-to-car to see who left the doors unlocked? How many handles did he jiggle? And, more to the point, could his have been one of them?
Atamian, a part-time disc jockey, lights up with the thought. But then, after a pause, he dismisses it: "It's a once in a lifetime thing."