Jake Bowers was driving down East Wilson Bridge Road on April 8 with his wife, Tara, and their children when he noticed a “blue felt bag” on the side of the street.
A Worthington man said he and his family simply “wanted to make the world right for someone” when they turned in a small fortune to police after finding a bag of money on the ground earlier this month.
As first reported by the ThisWeek Worthington News, Jake Bowers was driving down East Wilson Bridge Road on April 8 with his wife, Tara, and their children when he noticed a “blue felt bag” on the side of the street, just west of Worthington Galena Road.
Thinking he might have found someone’s missing laptop or tablet, Bowers pulled over.
“Out of curiosity – What’s this? It was kind of large – we checked it out,” he said. “We grabbed it and opened it, and there was somebody’s wallet with some identification and some envelopes that were stuffed with hundred-dollar bills.”
Bowers, 43, was not exaggerating when he said the envelopes were stuffed. The wallet contained 140 $100 bills, $14,000 in total.
“It was like, ‘Oh wow. That’s a lot of money,’ ” he said.
Without much hesitation, Bowers took the money to the Worthington Division of Police station.
He said he and his family made a few jokes, but they never considered keeping it.
“There wasn’t really much discussion about it,” he said. “We were down the street from the police station and we happened to be driving that way anyway. So the discussion was pretty much, ‘This is someone’s money. We need to turn it in.’ ”
Sgt. James Moran of the Worthington Division of Police said although “a case could be made” that not turning the money in would have been illegal, it still was shocking to see $14,000 come through the door.
“At least for us, we don’t get cash like that turned in very often,” he said with a laugh.
Police determined the money belonged to a man from Marion who had driven to Worthington to buy a car in cash.
When he decided not to purchase the vehicle, he left his bag on top of his car as he pulled away.
ThisWeek was not able to reach the man for comment, but Worthington police confirmed the money was returned to him.
Bowers said the $14,000 was the most money he ever had seen at once, “let alone held,” and it would have gone a long way toward paying off some car loans and a bit of debt from his recent move to Worthington.
However, he said, he thought of how that much money had the “potential to absolutely ruin” someone’s personal finances.
“We had the opportunity to help restore someone’s faith in humanity,” Bowers said. “It’s not often when something like that happens to you that you’re going to see that money back. But it felt good to know we could do the right thing and potentially make a difference in someone’s life.”