Homeless man gets back nearly $10k in cash left on bus bench

Jun 11, 2015, 8:56 AM

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida homeless man has been reunited with an inheritance of nearly $10,000 in cash, stuffed into two envelopes, which he’d accidentally left on a bus bench.

A Broward County sheriff’s deputy and a good Samaritan found the cash and authorities were able to track the man down and return the money days later, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1JMt7hz).

A deceased relative had left the man nearly $12,000. Detective Danny Mursell said deputies have only identified the man by his first name, Joe, for his protection.

On June 1, the man withdrew nearly $10,000 from a bank account and went shopping, deputies said. Mursell said Joe mistakenly left two plastic bags of merchandise along with the two envelopes full of cash on a bench at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

The man later realized he’d left the money and merchandise behind, “but he figured by the time he thought about going back to get it, it would be gone,” Mursell added.

During the early hours of June 4, John Harbett said he was on volunteer beach patrol looking for turtle hatchlings when he spotted an envelope containing $3,900 at the bus stop nearby. Mursell said Harbett picked it up so no one else would walk off with the cash.

A short time later, Deputy Ben Koos saw the bags of merchandise and found a second envelope with $5,600 inside and took them back to a sheriff’s office in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. That same morning, Harbett showed up at the sheriff’s office to turn in the cash he had found, Mursell said.

“We obviously put two and two together and everything was in one location for a total of $9,500,” Mursell said.

Investigators found a receipt from a clothing store, got a surveillance picture of “Joe” from the store and tracked him down.

In the end, the investigators returned the merchandise to Joe and the money was deposited back into his account.

Mursell said the man expressed relief at recovering the money and said he planned to use the funds to relocate to Pennsylvania to be with family and friends.

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Homeless man gets back nearly $10k in cash left on bus bench