Dutch hotel worker finds long lost jewels

2012-02-09 21:47

The Hague - Nearly six years after the US ambassador's wife reported jewellery worth millions of euros stolen from a Dutch hotel room, police said on Thursday it had actually been gathering dust in a forgotten drawer for years.

The $9.3m collection of gold- and diamond-set jewellery was found if the hotel room where the couple stayed for a few months leading up to the supposed 2006 theft.

Dawn Arnall did not even know her jewellery was missing until months after the hotel stay.

She assumed the jewellery was stolen, but hotel workers had in fact handed the rings, necklaces and earrings to management for safekeeping.

The items went unclaimed for six months, so a female employee was allowed to keep them, in line with hotel policy, police spokesman Wim Hoonhout said.

"Nobody realised the value of the jewellery," Hoonhout said.

One of the necklaces was set with a five-carat rose diamond worth $5.3m.

The female employee promptly put the jewels away in a cupboard and forgot about them. Last year while doing housework, she rediscovered the items and decided to have them valued.

She then handed the jewellery to police, who last month returned them to Arnall, back in the United States where her husband Roland had died of cancer in 2008.

In the meantime, an insurance company had paid out for the missing jewellery.

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