Homeless man finds stack of cash, turns it in

February 25, 2011 6:00:38 AM PST
For a man with no home or money to call his own, an envelope full of cash could have seemed like a windfall.

Not so for John Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh is a man to whom you might not, ordinarily, give much thought. Dressed in ragged clothes his skin is weathered, his fingernails coated in dirt, his mind wanders in and out.

Kavanaugh's home is an open bench wherever he can find one. That could have changed with what he found on Tuesday.

"I was walking in the snow. I was over by the YMCA across the street. I stepped on an envelope and the green came out," he explained.

That green was a stack of crisp bills that Kavanaugh likely hasn't held in years. It could have changed his life, at least for a little while.

"There were seven $100 dollar bills and a few $50 dollars bills, it was about $1,440, I think or $1,500," Kavanaugh said.

The money belonged to Robert Stauffer, a lawyer who'd gotten it as reimbursement for work he'd done for a client.

Ordinarily, Stauffer says, he would have deposited it right away. But Tuesday he was in a rush and put it in his pocket.

"My pocket had a hole in it, and since I was wearing an overcoat, not only did the pocket have a hole, but the lining had a hole in it," explained Stauffer.

Hours later he discovered it missing, believing it was gone for good.

He told a security guard at the office where he lost it, aware of the distinct markings on the envelope. Sure enough that officer called police, who informed them they had it.

"The entire balance is in there, not a penny was taken," said Stauffer.

"It's certainly commendable that an individual, regardless of their station in life, would act so positively," said West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn.

Kavanaugh's knew he could have used the cash, but he also knows what it is like to go without.

"It could have been somebody's rent money or something, you know. They could use it. It could set you back," said Kavanaugh.

Robert Stauffer got the cash back on Thursday, and says he'd like to meet John Kavanaugh to be sure he gets a reward.

While Kavanaugh may deal with mental health issues, he swears he was never confused about what to do in that situation.

He wanted to do the right thing, no matter what.


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