Deadline looms to claim cash man found in dumpster

Claudine Zap
The Upbeat

Dumpster diving isn’t usually considered a lucrative pursuit. But a man, known only as Carlos, had a wild find at the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility in Massachusetts: about $20,000 stuffed into a hollowed-out book.

The Brazilian immigrant was at the recycling center to pick up back issues of National Geographic and old books. One used book turned out to be very useful: When he opened it, he saw hundred dollar bills.

Carlos told CBS Boston Local, “I quickly closed the book and I ran to the car. When I opened the book, the money fell all over the place, one-hundred-dollar bills here, one-hundred-dollar bills there.”

No one would have blamed the man had he invoked the rule of “finders, keepers.” But last fall Carlos put an ad in a local paper with an email address, giving a six-month deadline for the owner of the cash to claim it. He said, “I can be guilt-free that I did search and try my best to find the person.”

So far, according to CBS Boston, he’s received 180 responses, most congratulating him on the find—and some just out to make some easy money. He said, “They tried to explain the book belongs to their family, a grandfather or grandmother. But they couldn’t give me the right information.”

His theory is that it came from an estate and, most likely, nobody was aware of the treasure inside the book that was cast aside.

Carlos is looking for the name of the book, a description of the cut-out pages, and the correct cash amount.

If no one steps up with the right information, on May 8, Carlos will keep the money for himself. In his mind, he’s already spent it: He'll give to a charity and use it to help with his daughter’s tuition.

This is not the first time cash has been found in an unexpected place. Carol Sutor of Bristol, Pa., returned $30,000 in cash found in clothes a relative had given her.

And a homeless man, Bill Ray Harris of Kansas City, Mo., said it was worth it to give back a diamond ring accidentally placed in his change cup. He ended up with a job, a home and a reunion with his family on TV.

Meanwhile, Carlos patiently waits for his self-imposed deadline to pass before he spends the cash. He said, “I can use the money, but it’s not my money so I’m going to wait.”