Man returns money stash to owner
Published 20/05/2011 | 10:33
An American man who found more than 45,000 US dollars (£27,800) when he moved into his new house has returned the cash to its original owner.
Josh Ferrin picked up the keys earlier this week and decided to check out the house in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bountiful.
As he walked into the garage, a piece of cloth which clung to an attic door caught his eye. He opened the hatch and climbed up the ladder, then pulled out a metal box that looked like a Second World War ammunition case.
"I freaked out, locked it in my car, and called my wife to tell her she wouldn't believe what I had found," said Mr Ferrin, who works as an artist for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Then he found seven more boxes, all stuffed full with tightly wound rolls of cash bundled together with twine.
Mr Ferrin quickly took the boxes to his parents' house to count. Along with his wife and children, they spread out thousands of bills on a table, separating the bundles one by one. They stopped counting at 40,000 US dollars, but estimated there was at least 5,000 more on the table. Mr Ferrin thought about how he might spend such a large sum of money.
"I'm not perfect, and I wish I could say there was never any doubt in my mind. We knew we had to give it back, but it doesn't mean I didn't think about our car in need of repairs, how we would love to adopt a child and aren't able to do that right now, or fix up our outdated house that we just bought," he said.
"But the money wasn't ours to keep and I don't believe you get a chance very often to do something radically honest, to do something ridiculously awesome for someone else and that is a lesson I hope to teach to my children."
He thought about the home's previous owner, Arnold Bangerter, who died in November and left the house to his children. After most of the money was counted, Mr Ferrin called one of Mr Bangerter's sons with the news.
Kay Bangerter said he knew his father hid away money because he once found a bundle of cash taped beneath a drawer in their home, but he never considered his dad had stuffed away so much over the years.
"He grew up in hard times and people that survived that era didn't have anything when they came out of it unless they saved it themselves," Kay Bangerter, the oldest of the six children, told the Deseret News. "He was a saver, not a spender."