Oceano dunes rider returns $20,000 diamond bracelet

April 9, 2013

dunesA retired firefighter from Modesto discovered a $20,000 diamond bracelet while riding his quad at the Oceano Dunes and then worked to return the bracelet to its owner. [ModestoBee]

In June, Orange County resident Robyn Giranda brought her son to the Central Coast to ride on the dunes. Shortly after she finished a ride, she discovered her diamond bracelet was missing.

“What was I thinking wearing an expensive bracelet while riding a quad?” Giranda said to the Modesto Bee. “I was just sick knowing how sand just sucks up stuff.”

After searching the dunes and failing to find her bracelet, Giranda filed a report with a state park ranger and then returned to her Southern California home.

More than six months later, on Presidents Day weekend, retired Modesto firefighter Joe Mingham went to the dunes to ride his own quad and caught a glimpse of a piece of metal in the dunes. He stopped, pulled the bracelet from the sand and stuck it in his pocket.

Back in Modesto, he took the bracelet to a jeweler to have it cleaned and discovered it was worth nearly $20,000.

Mingham than began his detective work by contacting the Pismo Beach Police department. The officer he spoke to told him it was a non-crime issue and he should contact someone with State Parks.

He called State Parks main office in Sacramento and was told to contact ranger Lindsey Phillips in Pismo Beach. Phillips pulled the missing bracelet report and put Mingham in contact with Giranda.

“It’s definitely mine,” Giranda told the Modesto Bee. “Amazing. And it was awesome of Joe — first that he found the needle in the haystack, so to speak, and then that he went to such great lengths to contact somebody. He was referred four or five times before he got to (Phillips).”

Saturday, Giranda drove six hours from Orange County to Modesto to retrieve her bracelet.

“I never thought I’d see it again,” she said. “I cannot believe you found it!”

Giranda offered Mingham a reward which he refused, though he did agree to let her take him to dinner soon in Pismo Beach.

“Good ending,” Mingham said to the Modesto Bee. “Everybody’s happy. The most important thing is that I made a friend.”


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If most of us weren’t honest, I believe our society would have absolutely imploded years ago. There are still good people and real heros out there. Nice of you to do the right thing Mr Fireman.

Nice to see our locals pulling the “It’s not my job” card with zero regard for doing the right thing. That’s the sad part we deal with each day!

That evil fireman with his pension. No wonder he returned the bracelet.

Got an axe to grind?

“What was I thinking wearing an expensive bracelet while riding a quad?”

Wow, what an understatement! Luckily, it ended well.

Ended well as in she filed a loss with her insurance co AND got her bracelet back.


Wait a minute…you mean that decent and honest individuals like to ride out at the Oceano dunes? Don’t let the anti-recreational vehicle crowd get wind of this!

My Kind a Guy! Nice work Mingham!