Andy Sabisch and Cory Devereau are the human vacuum cleaners of Lake Wylie. They pick up just about everything they find on the muddy river bottom.
The professional divers have found hundreds of wedding rings, watches, car keys and cell phones (even a stolen BMW) – primarily around boat landings such as Buster Boyd, Allison Creek and Ebenezer, as well as private docks and swimming areas. They learned that wherever fishermen, swimmers, water skiers and boaters get in the water, they'll drop something – and if it's not attached to a float, it will sink like a rock.
Sabisch and Devereau own Land & Sea Recovery Services, and they find valuables underwater and on land. They charge for organized searches – one third of the item's value and/or a retainer fee – but often return property of sentimental value for free. They recently got a large fee for recovering three diamond rings that had been accidently tossed into a lagoon with an alligator at Bald Head Island.
They dive because they love the water, with more than 2,500 dives each. They also have day jobs; Sabisch is a federal inspector at the Catawba Nuclear Station, and Devereau is a house remodeler.
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A recent find belonged to Amy Hagen of Rock Hill.
Last July, she went to Allison Creek Boat Landing to launch a boat with friends.
“At one point during the day I realized I couldn't find my phone. It was my work phone, and I panicked,” Hagen said. “I tore that boat apart looking for my cell, the car too, but nothing.”
Last September, the divers were searching the lake near the landing and found the Nextel phone. There was no ID on it, but they dried off the phone and put in a new battery.
Devereau found a “mom and dad” listing in Wisconsin and called Hagen's family.
“I couldn't believe it when I got my old phone back. I was able to retrieve all of the phone numbers off of it,” she said, noting that Devereau didn't charge her. She said she's learned her lesson about taking a cell phone on a boat. She puts it in a sealed plastic bag.
“I never saw the phone fall into the water but voila, I still got it back from this good Samaritan.”