Reporting Beth Germano
BOSTON (CBS) – One man’s trash could soon become another man’s treasure. After waiting six months for someone to claim the more than $20,000 he found in a hollowed-out book, a Brazilian immigrant is getting ready to claim the money for himself.
Carlos doesn’t want to be identified any further than his first name so he’s not besieged by people trying to claim the cash. It started last October 12 when he was picking through books at the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility, looking for more National Geographics and other discarded books that catch his eye. One certainly did, and when he flipped through the pages he discovered the money.
“I quickly closed the book and I ran to the car. When I opened the book the money fell all over the place, one hundred dollar bills here, one hundred dollar bills there,” he said. He’s certainly not a rich man and could have kept the money, but instead he set a deadline of six months for the owner to come forward. “I can be guilt-free that I did search and try my best to find the person,” he said.
He advertised an e-mail address – Ipatimaga2005@comcast.net – in a Wellesley newspaper and received at least 180 responses from around the world. Most congratulated him on his discovery and his pursuit, but at least nine, he says, were simply greedy people. “They tried to explain the book belongs to their family, a grandfather, or grandmother,” he says. “But they couldn’t give me the right information.”
He won’t reveal the title of the book, but says the rightful owner would know, and also be able to describe the cutaway pages and estimate the amount. None of them could. He now believes the book likely came from a family estate, someone never knowing the treasure inside.
So just after midnight on May 8, Carlos plans to put the money into action, contributing to a charity, helping his daughter with school tuition, and a few other necessities. Unless, of course, the right person comes forward. “I can use the money, but it’s not my money so I’m going to wait.”