Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) –  It’s been nearly two weeks now since you first heard it on KMOX — a worker going through items donated to the MERS/Goodwill store off Lindbergh in south St. Louis County opens a box and finds $14,505 in cash.

Realizing that the rightful owner probably had no memory of the secret stash and no intention of giving it away, MERS/Goodwill immediately put out word of the incredible find.

Since then, they’ve fielded a lot of call and email inquiries about the money.

“I don’t think there’s anybody trying to get one over on us, but some of them are weird,” says MERS/Goodwill president and CEO Lew Chartock.

Like the woman from Chicago who put out feelers after she had recently donated some items to her local Goodwill.

“She wondered if the Chicago stuff could have gotten down to St. Louis,” he recalls, “which is absolutely impossible, it’s two different Goodwills. But that’s what’s happening.”

You might think that Goodwill officials are wondering if no good deed goes unpunished after putting out word of the wayward donation.

But Chartock says while the amounts have never been this large, this kind of thing happens all the time.

“I feel really quite sorry for some of the people who genuinely believe it was their money,” he adds.

Most claimants have now been eliminated after Goodwill officials were able to identify the estate sale company whose employees were seen dropping off the items in which the money was eventually found.

Even with that discovery, however, the situation has gotten a bit stickier than Chartoff had foreseen.

“They were just delivering the stuff but since it had been their hands for a while they apparently believe that they’re entitled to it,” Chartock points out. “But if that were the thinking, Goodwill’s had it in their hands and then we’d be entitled to it.”

Having said that, Chartock quickly adds that “we don’t want it!”.

He just wants to see the money get back into the hands of the rightful owner, who at this point appears to be the daughter of the couple who owned the home where the money had been stashed away.

It may take more than Chartock’s opinion, however, for the matter to finally be resolved.

“We’re still determined to turn the money over to the courts and let them decide,” he tells KMOX News.

By the way Tina Wells, the store manager who first made the discovery back on May 9th, has received an undisclosed sum as a reward for quickly alerting Goodwill officials after finding the hidden cash.


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