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JEWELS IN A DRAWER

Dutch police have recovered millions of dollars in jewelry reported stolen nearly six years ago by the wife of a former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

The rings, necklaces and earrings worth more than $9 million turned up in a cupboard drawer in the home of a hotel maid.

This was no ordinary high-society heist. In fact, it wasn’t a theft at all, but a case of lost and found.

Ambassador Roland Arnall and his wife, Dawn, had been staying in a hotel in The Hague before the wealthy diplomatic couple moved inthe spring of 2006.

For months, Mrs. Arnall did not even realize her jewels were gone, according to Dutch news reports. When she did discover they were missing, she reported them as stolen.

In the meantime, a hotel maid had discovered the items in the lobby of the hotel, which was not identified in the news reports. She turned them over to her boss, who put them in the hotel’s lost-and-found.

Six months later, after no one claimed the jewels, the manager gave them to the maid, who thought the collection was nothing more than costume jewelry.

She put them in the cupboard and forgot about the sparkly items until she was cleaning her house recently and rediscovered the stash.

Out of curiosity, she took them to a jeweler for an appraisal. He was “flabbergasted,” a police spokesman told Dutch reporters on Wednesday. One necklace, set with a 5-carat rose diamond, alone was valued at more than $5 million.

The maid turned the jewels over to the police and now is hoping for a reward. Police returned the jewels to an insurance company that already had paid Mrs. Arnall for her loss, according to one report.

Her husband, a billionaire mortgage investor and political supporter of former President George W. Bush, died in 2008.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.