When Plumbing Jobs Turn Into Detective Work

Plumbing work requires accessing areas that are rarely seen. And that can result in some interesting discoveries.

When Plumbing Jobs Turn Into Detective Work

A plumber recently found 15 wallets in a heating vent. The stolen items ended up dating back to the mid-1940s. (Photo from City Hope Church Facebook page)

When you’re a plumber working on systems that are usually hidden from plain view, there is a chance of coming across some interesting finds. Decades old even.

For example, a plumber recently discovered 15 women’s wallets while cutting through a heating vent in a bathroom as part of the demolition of an old school in Centralia, Illinois. Based on the school IDs and photos in the wallets, it was determined that they were about 75 years old.

The school was being demoed in order to be turned into a church, and the pastor of the church made a Facebook post about the discovery of the decades-old stolen wallets along with a list of names based on the school IDs in them. Many shares and various inquiries later, one of the wallets so far was able to be returned to its owner, Betty June Sissom, now 89 and living about 85 miles away in Chesterfield, Illinois.

A similar situation involving items stolen long ago occurred earlier this year in Philadelphia. Plumber Lou DiOrio was working at construction site in a space being converted into a kitchen when he found a duffel bag inside a wall. The bag contained a woman’s belongings: keys, velour jacket, student books, and a wallet. He also found a prepaid calling card because, as it was later learned, the items were stolen 20 years ago.

The driver’s license in the wallet helped DiOrio track down the owner of the items on social media and he was able to return everything to her. The woman, now a cardiologist, believes the items were taken when she was a resident doing clinics 20 years ago in the building where they were found.

Have you ever had a job that suddenly turned into a borderline archaeological dig, uncovering something long ago lost or stolen? Comment below or email kyle.rogers@colepublishing.com.


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