News Article:

Seeker Finds Joy In His Job

By Mike Bell, Staff writer, The Vancouver ECHO

An East Vancouver man has his eyes on treasure buried all around Europe.

Over the past 20 years Chris Turner has spent much of his time armed with a metal detector searching out lost treasures, first as a hobby now as a business owner with his Professional Finders.

A needle in a haystack? That's kid's play. Give Turner something hard, like the diamond ring Aunt Gladys lost at the family reunion in the park last summer, and it will set the seeker salivating.

"I take it personally," Turner says of their lost items people ask him to find. "It's my job and I want to make people happy."

Turner had found a 600-year-old cross in England, dozens of Roman coins and countless rings and pendants, but he says the most satisfying find was a near-worthless engineer's steel ring.

While walking with his girlfriend, the ring dropped off the recent grad's pinky finder and they had to get a replacement. He later died, and his parents asked for the replacement ring. Remembering the lost band, she sent Turner to work and within hours she had it.

"That was the most rewarding thing I ever found. I love what I do. It gives you lots of smiles."

He started the hobby as a teen - "I've been treasure hunting since I was about 14" - and kept it up though the years. He spent time as a pro soccer player in the North America Soccer League (he was with the Whitecaps in their final year) but blew out his knee and career in a 1984 game with the Canadian national team against Italy. He then turned his compass toward treasure hunting for a living, still finding time for bit parts in local productions like 21 Jump Street, Cobra and Street Justice.

Turner's joy comes from seeing the smile on someone's face when he finds something they've given up on. Some searches have taken hours or days while others have taken a matter of minutes.

"This is what I love doing. I've turned this hobby into a business. I get to continue the story for people. A lot of them give up. They look for it, they rent a metal detector and can't find it so they give up. But usually I can find it."

He claims an 80 percent success rate so far this year - he's found 16 of 20 items he's been sent to search for - and says the items he can't find probably weren't lost in the area he's been told to search.

Although his success at home has been huge and getting busier, Turner is looking across the ocean to Europe and the treasure that have been forgotten through the ages - like the Viking horde of golden arm bands and bracelets found recently in Holland valued in the millions of dollars.

"I've played the lottery since I was 18 and I've never won. That's my chance to hit paydirt."

Lost something? Turner is available at 650-2878.