Let's start with some seemingly unrelated facts:
After we looked a little and Morgan found a couple of necklaces to try when her dress comes back, I put all the jewelry away. That was pretty much the end of this story, as far as I knew. This was on Saturday.
Monday, late in the afternoon I was in the kitchen starting to fix dinner. My nice neighbor, Valerie, called me. She said, "I have a strange question to ask you. Our neighbor girl is here and she has a really nice ring with a green stone that she says Austin gave her on the bus. It looks like a REALLY nice ring. Not one a kid would have."
For a minute I started to say I didn't know what she was talking about and that it was probably fine, but then it slowly dawned on me . . . . . . my mom's jewelry! Austin was pretty interested in it. The only thing I couldn't figure out is why he gave it to that particular girl. He was better friend's with Valerie's daughter. I told Valerie that yes, I definitely needed that ring back. I had her ask the girls if they had seen any other rings. The whole time I kept stirring my dinner, trying to make sense in my head of what had happened. She checked and the girls said he had a bunch of rings in ring boxes at school, and on the bus AND at church.
I then hung up the phone and tried to talk to Austin, who vehemently denied everything. It is REALLY hard to get any kind of concrete information out of someone who just doesn't want you to know how bad the situation really is. He started crying hysterically and saying he was sorry he'd ever been born!
Valerie came over a couple of minutes later with a ring that WAS really nice and I didn't even recognize as one of my mom's that I had seen because there were so many of them. Valerie then told me some more information. Austin had also told the girls that he knew where the rings were hidden and also mentioned a wedding ring. Well, I RAN to my room because on Sunday I was sitting in church and had realized that I forgot to put on my wedding ring. It was Monday and I'd been home all day so I hadn't bothered to put on any jewelry. My ring wasn't where I had left it, but I did find it close by. I went back to Valerie and was talking again when I remembered the rings of mine that I had shown the kids. I sent Morgan back to check on them in my jewelry box. It took her a while, but she said it looked like they were all there. After a few more minutes, what Valerie had said rang another bell in my head. Wedding ring. I had shown Austin Grandpa Fronk's wedding ring. I sent Morgan back again to check on that one because she said she didn't remember seeing it. She was gone a LONG time, so I let Valerie go then because I was quietly freaking out. Morgan hadn't found it yet, but after searching we finally did find that ring. Valerie also reconfirmed the fact that Austin had taken rings to church AND given one to the Primary teacher. (So why hadn't SHE called me?)
Morgan then remembered that he did have some kind of fancy boxes in the pockets of his church pants, so she started searching around to see what she could find. I do remember thinking it was awfully easy the day before to get him to hand over his magic wand and long pointy finger on a stick thing that he is always sneaking in his pants at church. Usually he puts up a fight and sneaks them into his Primary class. I should have known something else was up.
By this time Austin could tell he was going to be in some pretty big trouble, so he high tailed it out of there. He ran to his room while Valerie was there and I couldn't find him for a long time. Really, there aren't many places he can hide in his room and I knew he hadn't run back past me so he had to be somewhere in one of the bedrooms or bathroom. I checked under all the beds and in all the closets. Finally, Ally (my fabulous middle child) found him hiding under his covers like the little coward he is. (Yes, I am still mad, even almost two weeks later.)
Well, after a long, mostly one-sided conversation with Austin; me conversing and possibly yelling at times, him crying hysterically, I found out a little more. Austin admitted he had also given a ring to his friend Dallin, along with Martha and the Primary teacher. Valerie had called back saying that her girls also saw him give a ring to a boy named Jackson and some unidentified "blond girl" on the bus.
(to be continued, because I am too emotionally wiped out to finish...)
Edited to add: Long story short - recovered 3 rings; never got back anything from "Jackson", though I talked to two different Jacksons' moms and never figured out exactly which blond girl on the bus was the recipient of my son's generosity. This was also the same week my daughter, Ally, split her head open at 6:30 a.m. the day I was supposed to talk to the bus driver. When I finally did talk to him, a week later, he said I should have talked to him the week before and it was probably too late to do anything about it.