Woman returns $30,000 she found in donated clothes

Claudine Zap

A woman who took donated clothes from a relative returned the favor—with a vengeance: She gave back the $30,000 she found inside the hand-me-downs.

Carol Sutor of Bristol, Pa., was going through the clothes—which had belonged to her cousin’s daughter’s 85-year-old mother-in-law, who had recently died—when she came across a canvas bag on a hanger. In the bag was cash that had been stuffed into envelopes and wrapped in layers of plastic bags.

Sutor told the website Phillyburbs.com, “I unwrapped the bag, and there was another bag in another bag in another bag, one of those deals, you know?” Inside of them she found stacks of hundred dollar bills.

Sutor, owner of Advantage Insurance in Levittown, told the website, "Things are tight. You struggle in your business, like everybody’s struggling. But when you struggle you think, oh, wow, if only I had money, my troubles would be solved. And so all this money shows up, but it’s the wrong way for it to come. It wasn’t mine and I knew it.”

When Sutor told her cousin, Marlene Lattanzi, who lives in nearby Medford, N.J., of the cash find, she came over to help count the bills. The cousins think the money had been stashed someplace safe during Superstorm Sandy and never put back in the bank after flooding ruined the mother-in-law’s house and car.

Lattanzi left with the money and called her son-in-law to tell him the good news. Ten minutes later, Lattanzi returned to give Sutor $1,000 and her son-in-law’s thanks for returning the funds.

Sutor said she didn’t spend much time wrestling with what to do. “I had to give it back,” she told the news website. “I believe in karma; whatever I do will come back to me, good or bad.”

One veteran of returned treasure could tell Sutor it's worth it. Homeless man Billy Ray Harris, who gave back a diamond ring put accidentally in his change cup, now has a home, a part-time job and a fund of over $186,000 donated to him—and was reunited with his family on TV.