Taxi driver returns $230,000 in jewels

A Chicago cabdriver who found a green sack in the trunk of his car discovered that it contained jewelry with an estimated retail value of $230,000, The Chicago Tribune reports. Thanks to his honesty, the jewels were returned to their owner on Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, the sack, which Mohammed Hussain discovered Sunday, Oct. 19, in the trunk of his cab, contained 42 ornate pieces of jewelry, handcrafted 18-ct. gold earrings and necklaces woven around sparkling walnut-sized sapphires, aquamarines, and rose quartzes.

“I was not sure if these were real, to be frank,” Hussain, 26, reportedly said Wednesday. “When I went through these documents and invoices (in the bag), I was sure they were really costly.”

On Wednesday, the precious cargo was returned to Anthony Camargo co-owner and designer for an Austin, Texas-based jewelry-maker.

“I thought that was just so admirable,” Camargo, 40, reportedly said. “This doesn’t happen where it gets returned in this manner.”

Since its inception five years ago, Anthony-Nak Fine Jewelry, Inc., of Austin, has catered to celebrity clients including First Lady Laura Bush, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Cher. In Chicago, Camargo says the company sells only through Barneys New York.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, at about 9 p.m., Camargo and a sales associate took a cab from Barneys at North Rush and East Oak Streets back to Hotel 71, 71 E. Wacker Drive, after a long, tiring day. Moments after getting out of the car, they realized they didn’t have the jewels.

Camargo reportedly said he ran down the street to catch the taxi but it was lost among several other taxis. He called police, but he didn’t have the taxi number or the correct company. Chicago police reportedly began an investigation, but detectives didn’t have many leads.

Hussain, a native of Southern India, reportedly didn’t discover the bag until Sunday evening, when he went through the trunk to tidy up. Sifting through the documents inside, Hussain found Camargo’s name and e-mailed him Monday.

Camargo alerted Chicago police who picked up the treasures. The jeweler flew back to Chicago Wednesday morning to thank Hussain in person and reclaim the jewels.

The jewels were insured, Camargo reportedly said, but he held out hope he’d see them again even if it was a long shot.

Keeping the expensive jewelry in his home for a couple of days caused Hussain to lose some sleep, but he reportedly said he never thought twice about keeping it.

On Wednesday, Camargo reclaimed the jewels at a Chicago police station and reportedly presented Hussain with a check and a pair of lemon citrine earrings with multicolor sapphire briolettes, made from stones cut in India. Camargo would not disclose the value of the check and jewels, only saying, “It’s a nice reward.”

Hussain, who is not married, said he would probably send the earrings to his parents in India.

Hussain will reportedly be nominated for a citizen’s award for his honesty.