A retired Nashville firefighter, who had to spend a few hours in the Metro jail, says the belongings she had to surrender on site were stolen, and she wants to be compensated.
This case isn't all that unusual. About once a month, someone claims to have had belongings stolen while being booked downtown.
And Jean Ridley says it's all because of a flawed policy.
Anyone who enters the Metro jail has to place their personal belongings in a plastic bag. When the person leaves, he or she gets those belongings back. It sounds simple, but it might be anything but.
Ridley was first appointed public information officer with the Nashville Fire Department, and served as a firefighter for almost 20 years.
She never got into trouble until her ex-daughter-in-law took out an assault warrant right before Ridley was supposed to take her grandson to Disneyland.
"It was an ugly custody case with my ex-daughter-in-law and son. She said something that was untrue, so I had to spend 12 hours in jail because it was a domestic situation," Ridley said.
When Ridley went to booking, she surrendered her keys, her iPhone and her favorite $300 gold earrings.
When she was released out 12 hours later, she went to retrieve those belongings.
"I signed the paper, but when I opened the bag, the earrings were gone," she said.
The jail said they immediately turn cases like this over to the Metro legal department, who say they checked the video and saw Ridley sign for her belongings.
But that's not the issue. Ridley readily admits she signed for her belongings, including the earrings.
"Because they make you sign for it, but they don't allow you to examine the stuff until you get to the exit door. And if you don't sign, you don't get your bag back," Ridley said.
The Davidson County Sheriff's Office says video showing Ridley signing for her effects is the final word.
Channel 4 News called Metro legal to see if that is the only criterion, but we were not able to get an explanation Tuesday.
Ridley believes the county she served for 20 years has failed her twice.
"I feel robbed," she said. "If they would have paid the claim and made it right by me, it would have been a different story, but they did neither. There is a hole in the bag where it wasn't sealed."
Last year, the city admitted to two claims and paid damages for the items lost or stolen while in the jailer's care.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive