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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — It was quite a find, an envelope with more than $5,000 dollars inside. But without a name how would investigators track down its owner?
Good detective work, that’s how.
That money and even more is back in the hands of the homeless man who misplaced it.
The story began at a bus bench in Lauderdale by the Sea last Thursday. A conscientious Broward Sheriff’s Deputy noticed some plastic bags with items inside. He took the bags back to BSO’s district headquarters. The items got turned over to Detective Danny Mursell.
“(The deputy) located a Wells Fargo bank envelope that had a substantial amount of money in it,” Mursell said.
More than $5,500 in fact but there was no information on who the stuff belonged to.
“There was no name,” Mursell said.
Then more money came in. A resident handed over a similar envelope also found near the bus bench with nearly $4,000 inside. Then, there was a clue. Detectives discovered a receipt from a clothing store at the Coral Ridge Mall.
“I was able to make contact with an employee who remembered from the time and the amount of the receipt this gentleman coming in to buy a t-shirt,” Mursell said.
That led to a surveillance image of the guy who bought some clothes there. Pretty soon that image was in the hands of every BSO deputy in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
“Everybody that works here has been looking for him,” Mursell said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Detective Mursell finally found him.
“Happened to walk by and look over and there he was, standing there, drinking a cup of coffee,” Mursell said.
The detective confirmed that the homeless man, identified as John to protect his identity, inherited a large sum of money from a relative and accidentally left it at the bus bench. Once investigators verified the info with John’s bank, they returned the money to him.
“I felt very good. I felt relief,” John said. “There are people out there that do care.”
Detective Mursell said it took good detective work and luck to reunite this man with his money. He said it was a team effort and one that gives everyone a boost.
“It renews you and it makes everything else you do worth it,” Mursell said.
John hopes that this money will provide him an opportunity to more to the Northeast and get reunited with some family and friends.