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Sign holder turns in $20,000 of lost cash; Martin County deputies reward his kind gesture

Posted at 12:00 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 07:06:58-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — What would you do if you found $20,000?

It’s safe to say some might consider keeping the life-changing amount of money.

A Treasure Coast man stumbled upon a bag packed with crisp $100 bills last week, adding up to $20,000 cash.

Instead of keeping it, he turned it over to law enforcement. But, deputies with the Martin County Sheriff's Office made sure his kind gesture did not go unnoticed.

Benjamin Feliciano has been working for nearly a year holding business signs on the sidewalk near the Treasure Coast M
all.
Late last week, he rode the bus to the mall like he always does then walked the rest of the way to work.

“I go behind Jared’s. I’m just walking... and I see a bag that catches my eye,” Feliciano said. “I picked it up, opened it, and all I saw was 100’s and I was like this is unreal.”

He said he did not know where it could have come from. He was not even sure if it was safe to take.
“I was in shock. A lot of things ran through my head,” Feliciano said.

He held on to the bag of cash for several hours while he was working. “I felt like as soon as I picked it up, the money was giving me bad energy,” Feliciano said. He decided he would not keep it.

Martin County Deputy Ben Lisle was driving through the area. Feliciano flagged him down.

“I would definitely say he was rather frazzled, nervous. He was shaking when he came up to my car. It actually had me a little nervous as well,” Deputy Lisle said.

Feliciano told Lisle he found a bag of cash and handed it to the deputy.

“Most money I’d ever seen loose,” Lisle said.

After a brief conversation, Lisle said he learned Benjamin could have really used the money. He walks to work every day because he does not have other transportation.

“He was vocal that it really could have changed his current situation in life if he would have kept that. However, he decided to do the right thing,” Lisle said.

Lisle spoke to his supervisor and another deputy who helped secure a donated bicycle.

They showed their appreciation to Feliciano by giving him the bicycle to make his workday a little easier.

While it wasn’t cash, it was still a token of appreciation that Feliciano says keeps his conscience clear.

“It’s not about having the money. It’s just I believe doing the right thing is more rewarding,” Feliciano said.

Lisle said an investigation was opened to make sure there was not anything questionable going on with the cash. The owner of the cash was located.

While it’s still unclear why he had the cash and lost it, deputies said the owner of the cash did express an interest in also doing something to show his appreciation to Feliciano.