Beverly, MA — A woman shopping at a Marshalls in Swampscott spotted a Vera Bradley bag hanging on a rack and was thinking about buying it.
When she went to unzip the bag, she found diapers, immunization records for several children, and a wad of cash. More than $11,000 in cash to be exact.
The woman, Cheryl Gavazzi, said she was afraid the money belonged to drug dealers.
“This is a drug thing,’ was my first thought,” Gavazzi said. “‘I’m going to get killed.’”
The 54-year-old put the bag in the undercarriage of her shopping cart and walked around the store for about 10 minutes hoping its owner would notice. When no one did, she decided to take the bag to the police.
Running out of a time before a hair appointment, and not knowing where the Swampscott police station was located, Gavazzi drove home and called her husband. She told him not to touch the bag, and that she would explain when she got home.
After her appointment, Gavazzi took the bag to Beverly police. They were able to locate the owner, a Lynn man who had just reported the bag stolen earlier in the day. He had gone shopping with his family and his wife put the bag down but forgot about it.
The man said the money inside had been raised to build a church in his native Guatemala. The story was verified with receipts, and the bag was returned.
Gavazzi met with the man last Wednesday, and he gave her a hug and small reward for her honesty.
“He was wondering how he was going to come up with that money because it wasn’t his money,” Gavazzi said. “At that point, he was going to be selling his car if he had to.”
What would you do if you found $11,000 in cash?