The North Yorkshire Police department found a very "distinctive silver ring" that they hoped to return to its owner. So they posted pictures of it on Facebook along with an explanation, figuring it would be the best way to get in touch with the person who'd lost it.
What they didn't figure is that the ring was actually a replica of the One Ring to Rule Them All from Lord of the Rings and that their post would spark hundreds of hilarious comments about the story behind the ring. It may seem like a joke, but the North Yorkshire Police really didn't know the ring was engraved with the Black Speech of Mordor.
"Officers in York are trying to locate the owner of a distinctive silver ring and are appealing to the public for their help," the Facebook post reads.
"The ring was recovered with property which had been stolen in a house burglary in York in February 2019. Sadly despite their efforts, officers have been unable to trace the ring back to its rightful owner.
"Detective Constable Pete Wilson, from York Investigation Hub said:
Unfortunately we haven’t been able to find the owner of the ring and return it to them. As it is such a distinctive piece of jewelery, we’re hoping that someone will recognize the markings and be able to tell us who it rightfully belongs to, as I’m sure someone, somewhere is missing it.”
They really made sure to capture the ring from all angles. And it seems like a joke, like they must have known where the ring is from, but they apparently didn't! The post then goes on to provide contact information for anyone who knows anything about the ring.
Well, the post went completely viral. There are now 35,000 comments on it, and most of them are jokes about Lord of the Rings. You really love to see it.
People simply couldn't help themselves. "That ring's OK," one person wrote. "It's a pretty nice ring. I really like the ring. I wonder where I could get one. I must have that ring." Commenters were turning into Gollum left and right.
Even another local police department got in on the fun...
Some commenters were confused. They tried to be genuinely helpful, to explain what was really going on here, or they didn't realize the police department really didn't recognize the ring's inscription. But those people were quickly drowned out by people intent on making jokes.
This is possibly the best thing to happen on Facebook in a good long while.
Imagine how it feels getting "actually'd" by a Lord of the Rings nerd when you're just trying to explain to the police that the ring is probably a toy. According to one commenter, though, it's probably much more than that.
"Jokes aside," one person wrote, "by the engraving style (the way it's cut not the symbols), the uneven parts and the scratches that looks like a hand-forged item, probably made either custom or by the owner in a 'forge your own ring' workshop. There's several forges that offer ring workshops in N. York's, maybe worth checking if they keep catalogue records of the rings that people make in their classes?"
Huh! Well, that's surprisingly helpful, unlike this next commenter...
I mean, people just could not get enough of these jokes. Pretty sure they're still happening, way down in the no-man's-land of comments. But the North Yorkshire Police department shouldn't feel that bad. It's not the first police department to make this very specific mistake. At least they seemed to be good sports about it.
As of one day ago, it seems they might have a lead on a lost Lord of the Rings ring, so let's hope their post worked and they're not being tricked into giving the ring to Gollum. To the North Yorkshire Police, I say keep on the lookout for a gravel-voiced gremlin. You don't want him stealing the ring back when you're not looking.