Good Samaritans Return $13,000 Found on Garbage Can

Ken Allen. Image credit: WKRN/ABC News

A trip to the convenience store for a soda lead to a surprising discovery and a wild goose chase for a Tennessee couple, after they found a bag stuffed with nearly $13,000.

Kristy Allen of Clarksville, Tenn. spotted a blue bag sitting on top of a trashcan while she was waiting in the car for her husband, Ken. She pointed it out to him when he came out of the store, and told him to grab it because it looked suspicious.

"It could have been a purse, and I don't mess with women's purses," Ken Allen, 49, told ABC News. "So I brought it to the car, and when we opened it we saw hundreds of hundred-dollar bills, at which point my wife said, 'Lock the door!'"

They found a wallet in the bag and called all of the numbers they found in it, to no avail.

Then they went to the address listed on the driver's license they found in the wallet, but nobody was home and neighbors said they had never seen the man in the ID photo. They gave up and locked the bag in their safe, then took it to the police the next morning.

The police inventoried the money, counting a total of $12,764.73. After checking surveillance video, they determined the bag had sat in front of the convenience store for about 45 minutes before the Allens noticed it.

"We were meant to find it. Most other people would throw a big party," Ken Allen said. "The only reason we were able to do the right thing is because my wife doesn't miss anything."

Ken, a high school math teacher, said he never thought about keeping the money.

"Once we found the wallet, we knew we had a way to find him, so it wasn't our money to keep," he said. "If there hadn't been a wallet…maybe. But my wife told me from the beginning we had to give it back."

The owner of the bag, a 51-year-old man, has since reached out to the couple to thank them. He was in the hospital after having a bad reaction to medication when he got the news somebody had found the bag.

"When he called, I asked, 'Dude, why did you have so much money?" Allen told ABC News. "He didn't really explain that, but he did say he was very grateful to have it back, and was glad we were the ones who found it."