A Pennsylvania man who turned in a bag containing $15,200 to authorities one year ago has received some very good news.
On March 7, 2016, Bob Tracey, a 61-year-old transportation authority worker, was driving home from work when he saw a bag in the middle of the road, WPVI reports. He collected the bag, saw the thousands of dollars inside, and immediately informed the police.
"When I saw all the money, I also thought it might have been a nighttime drop for a business," Tracey said at the time. "So I had to turn it in, it's just the way I am."
However, he did hesitate when he found the bag, considering how he had just returned from vacation.
"I thought, 'Wow, this is going to pay off my vacation,'" Tracey told The Philadelphia Inquirer after turning in the money to police. "But it's not my way."
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood applauded Tracey's actions.
"In this day and age, to turn that kind of cash in -," he said at a news conference. "Truly, truly a Good Samaritan."
"We lock people up every day for stealing and robbing and pillaging, and here's a gentlemen who comes in, who finds 15-grand and turns it right over," Chitwood said at the time, according to WPVI.
There were no reports of robberies or missing money made at the time to police, and it was suspected that the money could be from criminal proceeds.
There was also a digital scale, crack-cocaine pipe, and a vial of unidentified liquid in the bag, Chitwood said.
"In the world of Mike Chitwood, if nobody claims the money, it should go to him [Tracey]," the police superintendent said. "But in the legal world, I don't know."
Well, one year later and with no legitimate claims filed for the found money, a judge decided on March 30 that it will be given to Tracey, according to documents from the Civil Division of Delaware County Courts obtained by WPVI.
Tracey petitioned the courts in September 2016 to have the money returned to him. His petition stated that under state law "a finder of lost property has a valid claim for title of that property against all persons except the true owner," The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. That legal battle dragged on for six months.
"The bureaucracy was a nightmare for the guy," Chitwood said. "He had to jump through a lot of hoops for being honest. Most people would have taken the money and kept on going."