By Diane Thompson

(KNX 1070) — Gail Marlowe recalls spending her Thanksgiving eve in a panic after her purse, cellphone, cash, credit cards, and car keys went missing.

KNX 1070’s Diane Thompson reports that Marlowe was working the jewelry kiosk at a Macy’s department store in Thousand Oaks when she realized that both her purse and lunch bag had been collected during the trash pickup.

After a frantic search for the custodian, Marlowe ended up in the trash room where she could hear her ringing cellphone from inside the compactor.

“I didn’t know what to do and they left the room and I was ready to go down the trash compactor myself by putting a paper box on the sheet and sliding down … but I thought, ‘Gail, you don’t know how deep that is,’” she said.

Three days later, Steve Lee of Newbury Park and his team at Waste Management in Simi Valley came to the rescue.

“I made arrangements with the local landfill to have the load dumped off to the side where we can safely go through the material and hopefully find the needle in the haystack,” Lee said.

Lee and a co-worker sifted through five tons of trash and told Thompson they were, “very, very lucky.”

“We were looking for a leopard-skin lunch box to identify where it was because a black purse wouldn’t standout. But a leopard-skin we thought was gonna be the ticket to success,” he said.

Lee surprised Marlowe at work with her still-beeping cellphone.

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