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Teenager, An Aspiring Crime Scene Investigator, Returns $135,000 He Found Next To ATM Machine



  • Jose Nuñez Romaniz, found $135,000 cash inside a plastic bag beside an ATM machine.
  • The 19-year-old did not even think of keeping the cash and returned it, making it the biggest sum of money found in the community and returned.
  • The teen has been generously rewarded by the community for his honesty.

Jose Nuñez Romaniz was helping out his grandfather purchase a pair of socks online for the day. He was headed to Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, intending to make a deposit in his account, when he came upon a clear plastic bag on the ground with paper bills tucked inside. The money inside the bag is about $135,000 worth of $50 and $20 bills.

Good News Network | Albuquerque Police Department

“When I first saw it, I kind of stared at it for a few seconds, not knowing what to do,” Jose told the New York Times. “I was very shocked. I’ve never seen so much money.”

Jose did not know what to think after picking up the bag: Will he get kidnapped for this? Was this a practical joke?

He said that after he recovered from the initial shock he knew what he was supposed to do. Jose called the police station and reported the recovered money in the bag.

The police opened up an investigation about the case and soon discovered that a Wells Fargo contractor had intended to put the money inside the ATM machine but had mistakenly left it on the sidewalk.

“This money could have made an incredible amount of difference in his life if he went down the other path, but he chose the integrity path and did the right thing.”

Good News Network | Albuquerque Police Department

“I’ve seen a lot of stuff in 21 years, but this was unique and refreshing for the department and city,” Police Officer Simon Drobik said. “I think this is the biggest amount of money found in Albuquerque and returned.”

Officer Drobik called Jose on Tuesday to ask him what it was like to be considered a hero in his community. He answered that the incident did not make him feel like a hero, but the city mayor and the Albuquerque Police Department arranged a ceremony to honor him anyway.

Mayor Tim Keller forwarded his praises for Jose for returning the money. “Man, we all know that temptation. Even just to take a little, just one of those bundles off the top. I mean that had to be really hard,” he said.

There is more!

Good News Network | Jose Nuñez Romaniz

Jose received tokens of appreciation from the local businesses in his community in the form of gift cards. ESPN radio mailed him season tickets for the University of New Mexico football. The electric company in Albuquerque even offered him a scholarship worth 500 USD.

Perhaps the best part, the police chief invited him to apply for a public service aide position at the department. He had set his mind on law enforcement since he was a child. Jose is now a criminal justice undergraduate at Central New Mexico Community College. He wants to be a crime scene investigator.


It was the best gift a mother could receive Mother’s Day. Jose said her mom called him and almost started crying… “She told me I did the right thing and that she was proud of me.”

Source: Good News Network