Off Beat Stories

Jan 26, 2010 12:00 PM by Jon Shainman, NBC

Man finds thousands hidden in trashed photo

You could call Warren Bendix a collector, but he has a different term.

"Back in my time it was called a scavenger hunt."

Over the weekend, Bendix was taking out the trash at his Stuart, Florida apartment complex, when he saw something he liked sitting there out in the open.

"I noticed the picture was lying on the couches out there. I looked at it and I liked it, it was of the rocket going up."

The picture is from the liftoff of Apollo 8 back in 1968.

Bendix wanted to add the photo to the ones he had already found and put on his walls, but first he wanted to change out the broken frame.

Now when the 60 year-old removed the pictures backing, he got quite a surprise.

"Lo and behold I found 3 envelopes in back of it and each one had a bunch of money in each envelope."

$3,100 dollars in all. But rather than keep the money, Bendix knew what he had to do.

"I've got to turn this in, this is too much money," he said. "The people that lost that money may need it awful bad and then they won't have it."

Stuart police Sgt. Marty Jacobson said he's never recalled a case where such a large amount of money was just turned in by a good samaritan. Jacobson said police have figured out where the picture came from. It belonged to someone else in the complex who recently died.

Police now have to contact that family so it doesn't look like Bendix will get to keep the money. He says that's o.k., he lives a fairly simple life anyway.

"I wouldn't know what to spend it on."

Florida law says if you find property that's not yours, you need to turn it over to police. If no one claims it after 90 days, it's yours.



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