Stolen wallet returned to owner; what’s in it surprises everyone, maybe even the thief

An elderly Florida man is relieved to have his stolen wallet returned to him after the thief who stole it was caught on tape.

The thief still remains at large, but didn’t know when he took 76-year-old Jim Lear’s wallet that there was $600 in cash within before snatching Lear’s debit card and tossing the wallet.

Video surveillance shows Lear in a motorized cart in a Publix grocery store on Monday. His wallet fell, and was on the ground when a man walked by, quickly picked it up and kept walking.

By the time Lear realized his wallet was missing at checkout and called the bank, his account had already been compromised, The Ledger reported.

But Lear’s fate was about to change.

Later that evening, Richardo Ochoa, 63, was collecting cans and found Lear’s wallet in the garbage.

“I saw a wallet and I thought I had myself a new wallet because a lot of people throw away old wallets, Ochoa told the Ledger.

As Ochoa began to look through the wallet, he realized the I.D.s were up to date. He also found $600.00 in cash.

That’s when he knew something wasn’t right and took the Lear’s wallet to the Police Department.

“This whole experience is surreal for me,” Lear told the Ledger. “I couldn’t be any more grateful right now. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen as much as it should.”

Lear gave Ochoa $100.00 for his good deed. Ochoa plans to pay it forward, and is no stranger to the concept.

“I volunteer at the Nazareth church in Winter Haven,” said Ochoa. “I help prepare meals for the homeless. I want to donate the $100 Jim gave me to the church or to whoever needs it. Whatever God tells me to do with it I will do.

“I just love people,” he said. “We need to keep our eyes open when it comes to things like this. I work with the homeless and a lot of them are soldiers like Jim … We need to help them soldiers out there any way we can. I give all glory to God.”

Lear also has a message for the thief wherever he may be.

“Hey stupid, you threw my wallet in the garbage that had $600 in it and now you’re on the front page,” said Lear.

Police Chief Charlie Bird was overjoyed how things worked out. “This kind of story boosts your confidence in humanity again.” He said.

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