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Detectorist and treasure hunter

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Lynne Basche

Photo of René Mills with her metal detectorist

René Mills (left), a metal detectorist with used her metal detector and sleuthing skills to find resident Lynne Basche’s engagement ring, which had been lost at a park.

When you are a metal detectorist, ring finder and treasure hunter like René Mills of Castle Rock, you are going to have some good stories. “Finding a ring in 15 inches of snow out at Red Rocks; that was my toughest,” Mills said.

With her Garrett Ace 400 metal detector, Mills goes treasure hunting as a hobby and a way to relax from her job as a therapist. Mills said, “I’ve gone six hours at a time with maybe a break for water and something to eat. I love it. It’s peaceful and you’re out in nature.”

Religious pieces, pendants, dollar coins and silver rings are just a few of the treasures Mills talked excitedly about finding, “You learn to hate pop-tops and bottle caps though,” Mills added. Mills has found Italian lira, fifty pence from England and Japanese yen all in Denver. She keeps these in a box that resembles a treasure chest. Mills talked just as excitedly about returning items to their owner when she can and giving away treasures she has found to others who will enjoy them.

As a ring finder for the international metal detecting service The Ring Finders, Mills gets the chance to take her hobby to the next level when something special is lost. “When someone calls, we have a target to look for, so it’s an exciting challenge for us,” Mills explained.

It was “terribly exciting,” Mills said when she received a phone call about a lost ring at a park in Lakewood last month. Community resident Lynne Basche had taken her rings off and tucked them in her pocket to put sunscreen on before watching her son’s lacrosse game. At some point, her engagement ring fell out of her pocket. Basche explained, “An all-hands on deck search party ensued with every team parent scouring the area we were in.”

Through a series of serendipitous events, Mills was contacted and brought her metal detector and sleuthing skills to the park. A specialist like Mills is far more likely to find a lost item than someone who doesn’t know how to program a rented detector or what sounds to listen for.

Basche said her ring, which she has treasured for 20 years, had been stepped on, buried in the dirt, and completely hidden from view. When Mills found the ring, Basche said, “I cried; it was very emotional. Everyone whooped and cheered. I got to leave that park with that ring.” Mills added, “I wasn’t leaving that park until I found that ring.”

Some experienced metal detectorists assist with recovering evidence in law enforcement investigations, relics in historic locations, personal items for house fire victims, and items lost in water by scuba diving with special equipment. For more information, visit



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