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Staten Island Mother Digs Through 7 Tons Of Garbage To Retrieve Missing Rings

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Staten Island mother made a terrible mistake and accidentally threw away one of her most sentimental possessions.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, Tiffany and Christopher Otterbeck will never forget the night the Staten Island mother of two made meatloaf for dinner.

"I took my rings off. I put them in a paper towel next to the sink," Tiffany said.

The next morning at work, Tiffany realized something was missing.

"I called my mom frantic, telling her she has to go outside. 'It's pickup day, you have to get the garbage, my rings are in the garbage.' And she said, 'I can't; they just came," Tiffany recalled.

That's when panic really set in. Tiffany called 311, the Sanitation Department and multiple city agencies to see if anything could be done.

"They located the truck, pulled it off its route, and instructed them not to dump the garbage," she said.

The truck was brought to the Staten Island Transfer Station for the Otterbecks to dig through piles of trash in hopes of finding the rings.

Tiffany, her husband, and father-in-law saw an estimated seven to eight tons of smelly, disgusting, bags of garbage.

They brought a sample of their trash bags with them so they could have an idea of what they were looking for.

While sanitation workers are not required to help, supervisor Roger Vatter and four of his guys, who were already off duty, couldn't let them do it alone.

"We were seeing how anxious they were, and they wanted to find it. There was empathy involved," Vatter said.

The Department of Sanitation said it happens often. Their advice -- call 311 as soon as you realize the mistake.

If they can get to your trash fast enough they usually have a high success rate.

As for Tiffany, after 45 minutes of searching.

"I knew it was the bag. I got right on the floor. I didn't let anyone help me," she said.

She's relieved to have her rings back where they belong.

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