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Homeless man finds $77,000; City Council says he can keep the money

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Timothy Yost, who is homeless, stumbled on $77,000 in a city park along the Colorado River in Texas.

A homeless man who stumbled on $77,000 in a city park in a Texan town may keep the money, the City Council decided Tuesday evening.

In January, Timothy Yost, who is homeless, was walking through Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop, Texas, heading for a spot along the Colorado River to wash his feet. He spotted a bag, which jingled when he kicked it, according to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. When he opened the bag, he found damp bills and 40 gold Krugerrand coins from South Africa.

When Yost, 46, tried to exchange the money at a nearby bank, the teller told him he would have to wait until the bills dried, the Statesman reported. That’s when the teller called police, who placed the money in evidence.


Bastrop Mayor Terry Orr told msnbc.com that Detective Tamera Brown launched a lengthy investigation to find the money’s owner. She reached out to the FBI and a bank fraud investigation team and placed an ad in the local newspaper, per the law. Several people said the money was theirs, Orr said, but their claims were dubious.

Ultimately, Brown determined that the money was found – under Texas state law, a finder may be a keeper, so long as the original owner can’t be located.

“I hope this man can find some benefit in this; I hope it gives him an opportunity to change his particular circumstances,” Orr said. “That’s just Terry talking as a human being. But I think the rest of the council would feel the same way.”

The story has been a spot of good news for a small town that recently had a spate of bad luck. In September, wildfires hit the area, destroying 70 homes. The fires burned 1.5 million trees in the area.

“It’s just one individual but hooray for him,” Orr said.

As for Yost, he was in jail Tuesday night for being intoxicated. But he told Austin’s Fox 7 news that his first purchase would be a car.

"I've been walking for so long; the first thing I want is a vehicle," he said.

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