A Texas city council ruled this week that a homeless man who found $77,000 worth of gold collectible coins and $100 bills in a river could keep his treasure.
Bastrop City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday night that the money Timothy Yost found while washing his feet in the Colorado River Jan. 18 belonged to him. The city has had possession of the money since that time.
“It was a considerable sum of money, and we anticipated it would draw a fair amount of attention,” Bastrop Mayor Terry Orr said. “The city could have kept the money, because no one came forward to claim it, but we elected not to do that. It’s clearly Mr. Yost’s.”
Yost, 46, said he was close to Fisherman’s Park when he found the money in a bag. He told police he’d kicked it, and the bag made a weird sound. When he opened it up, he found 70 $100 bills and 40 Krugerrand gold coins from South Africa inside.
According to Orr, Yost took his findings to a nearby First National Bank and tried to exchange the wet money for dry. The bank told Yost he couldn’t exchange the money, and he left. The teller then called the police.
Orr said the city then seized the money, and officials advertised in newspapers and other local media for an owner.
No one came forward.
“The city became the custodian of the money, and from that point, we turned it over to the FBI to see if it was a result of some crime, drug money or something,” Orr said.
Bastrop Police Detective Tamera Brown led the investigation into the origins of the money and uncovered no foul play.
Yost’s attorney, Aleta Peacock, told the Austin American Statesman that Yost was currently in jail on charges of public intoxication and criminal trespassing.
“It is a great day for Bastrop; it is a great day for Mr. Yost,” Peacock told the Austin American Statesman.
Yost will receive his $77,000 when he is released from jail.
“We and all council members hope this will give this man the opportunity of a lifetime,” Orr said. “Not many people have that opportunity to turn their life around. We offer our best wishes to Mr. Yost and good luck to him.”