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Another man’s treasure

Valencia resident searches for keepsakes, lost valuables with metal detector

Posted: October 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Doug Ingle sweeps around the grass with his metal detector at Central Park in Saugus on Tuesday.

With a metal detector in hand, Doug Ingle swept through the vast expanses of grass at Central Park early Tuesday afternoon in search of treasure.

His haul after 90 minutes of searching? About $1.50 in change and a bottle cap.

“I wish people weren’t so cheap in what they dropped,” joked Ingle, referring to the many people who come and go from the park.

Ingle, a Valencia resident who has worked as a plumber in the Santa Clarita Valley since 2001, became a metal detector hobbyist only a month ago after seeing his brother-in-law in New Hampshire take part in the pastime.

Yet, in this short period as a metal-treasure hunter, he managed to unearth objects as old as a 1933 “wheat penny,” found as he worked at a customer’s home in Newhall.

Out at the park Tuesday, ranges of tones piped in through Ingle’s headphones to signify what could be buried underneath, allowing him to judge whether an object would be worth his while: low-pitched tones for pennies made of zinc, and distinctive higher-pitched tones for a quarter, made of copper and nickel, for instance.

As he got the OK from city officials to use his metal detector in city parks, Ingle ensured that he left no trace as he dug in the spots that drew his attention.

After he used a smaller device to pinpoint metal objects mere inches from the surface, he used little more than his hands or a short Phillips screwdriver to drive a narrow path for the object. He then compacts the grass back in the hole — an action that even helped to aerate the soil, he said.

Most of the objects he found were trash, which he pitches into the trash can, or pocket change.

He hopes to someday find a diamond ring — which he would plan to return to its owner — or another little something that could be rich in history or value.

“It’s possibly one of the only hobbies that could pay you back,” he said. “You’re looking for that elusive treasure.”



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