By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – It is all Dustin Wachsmuth has left of his dad. A ring worn for decades as a symbol of marriage, but given new purpose just before death.

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(credit: Dustin Wachsmuth)

“On the inside he had it engraved, ‘Love Always, Dad,’” Wachsmuth said, describing his late father’s wedding ring. “He was diagnosed with ALS back in 2012 and he wanted to do something special for us. He gave [the ring] to my mom and the day he died she gave it to me.”

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(credit: CBS)

For two years, Wachsmuth rarely took off his dad’s ring. March 15 was one of those rare occasions when Wachsmuth went rock climbing.

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(credit: CBS)

“I took it off because I didn’t want it to get damaged,” he explained to CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.

In an effort to keep the ring safe, Wachsmuth decided to hide it in his car.

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(credit: CBS)

“I put it under my car mat so even if somebody had broken in, it wouldn’t be in the glove box,” he said.

After his climb, Wachsmuth made a stop at Waterworks, a full-service car wash in Denver. It wasn’t until he was on his way home did he realize he forgot to put on his ring.

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(credit: CBS)

“Complete panic,” as he remembered his reaction.

He searched his car high and low several times, but with no luck. That’s when he rushed back to Waterworks and told a manager what happened.

“He was super helpful,” Wachsmuth said. “He sifted through the wet vac and vacuums, but couldn’t find my ring.”

The manager also showed Wachsmuth surveillance video of when staff vacuumed his red Subaru. The video was also shared with Denver Police.

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(credit: CBS)

“The manager and I and the police all kind of agree that it looks like [the employee] is taking it,” Dustin said. “That employee quit two days later.”

No one can say for certain if the ring was stolen, and Wachsmuth doesn’t care if that’s true. All he wants is to have his late father’s ring back so he can never take it off again.

“I would do anything to have it back,” he said. “There’s no blame. I don’t want anyone punished. I just want it back.”

Dustin also told CBS4 he has called a few pawn shops in hopes of finding his ring. He described it as a white gold men’s wedding band with three small diamonds inset and “Love Always, Dad” engraved on the inside.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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