Rocky mailroom mystery for county
By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 1, 2012 1:50 AM
County spokesperson Barbara Arntsen holds some of the semi-precious stones that we mailed to the county by mistake last week.
It is an enigma that has Wayne County officials literally turning over rocks, or rather in this case, valuable minerals, as they try to unlock a mystery that was delivered to their mailroom.
It all started when a large furniture box, the original delivery order for which has been traced to the magistrate's office, showed up a second time in the county mailroom -- this time packed with valuable minerals.
It is a puzzle county officials hope local residents will help them solve, said county spokesperson Barbara Arntsen.
Ms. Arntsen said she is unsure exactly when the box containing a piece of furniture had originally been delivered.
"I don't know what they did with the box," she said. "I don't know where they put it. If they gave it to someone. At some point, somebody, after the office furniture was delivered, somebody got hold of that box and decided it would be a good box to ship these stones, rocks or whatever they are.
"I guess that person packed them all up and shipped them. Sometime during the shipping process, wherever they were shipping them, their information was lost. So the box was delivered back to the county -- it still had our address on it from when they shipped the furniture."
When the box arrived at the mailroom there was no outstanding order for the furniture and the office supply company the county deals with was contacted.
Company officials were told that there appeared to have been an error since the county had not ordered any furniture.
However, after two or three weeks, the box still had not been picked up.
"The box sat down there a few weeks," she said. "Somebody in another department said, 'You know we might be in need of this furniture. We might look at it since we already have it delivered.' They went to get it and said, 'It is really heavy.' We were joking about that they must be kind of weak.
"We opened it up and it was all of these stones."
The stones, including azurite, were stored in smaller boxes padded with cotton. Azurite is a popular ornamental stone and mineral because of its deep blue color.
"Maybe the person or persons were going to sell them, maybe through eBay," Ms. Arntsen said. "Maybe it was part of an estate. We are just speculating. From what people said who have looked up some of the names, some of the pieces could be worth several hundred dollars apiece. As you can see there are quite a number of pieces in each one so it could be worth a lot of money.
"I am sure somebody is looking for it. We want it to get back to the rightful owner and back to where it is supposed to go. We don't want to give out too much information so that it doesn't get to somebody it is not supposed to. It's a mystery."
The Sheriff's Office has been made aware of the box and contents, Ms. Arntsen said.
She said she is unsure what would be done if no one claims the minerals that are currently being kept in a locked room.
"We want to get this to whoever this belongs to," she said. "It is unusual enough. I would imagine they are trying to track it now, but since the tracking information fell off it is kind of difficult."
People can identify the box and its contents by calling the county manager's office at 731-1435 or they can send a message through the county's Facebook page.