A sixth-grader found a briefcase containing $2,380, then spent two hours with a classmate planning how to spend the fortune before deciding to return it.
"I'd never seen so much money in my life, except on TV," 12-year-old Jeffrey Welch said Thursday.The grateful briefcase owner, Charles Coykendall, 79, said he understood the temptation.
"That's human," the Baldwin businessman said. "I can just see them trying to figure it out. This shows that kids know how to do right."
Jeffrey found the locked briefcase Jan. 4 next to a trash container. He brought it to a house where classmate Theresa Benson, 11, was baby-sitting her 6-year-old niece, Nikoa Wollen.
They pried it open and found blueprints, survey maps and a folder.
"I shook it (the folder) out and money fell on the floor, hundred dollar bills, lots of them," Jeffrey said.
Nikoa expressed the first misgivings, Theresa and Jeffrey said.
Jeffrey said he then began having doubts. "Like our parents wouldn't notice $2,000 worth of new clothes and tapes. Right?"
Coykendall said he had been visiting a friend and accidentally left the case on the bumper of his truck. He drove off, then realized his mistake and returned 15 minutes later but couldn't find the case.