Watch CBS News

Upper West Side Man Stumbles Upon Purse Filled With $10,000; Search On For Owner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the federal government grinds to a halt over money, a Manhattan man found a small fortune on his commute home.

63-year-old Richard Taverna stumbled on $10,000 in cash left inside a forgotten purse. Some might consider keeping it, but he says he didn't even think twice about what to do next.

Taverna is making the most of retired life on the Upper West Side with his family a three cats, usually starting his mornings at a gym near the 66th Street subway station. Thursday was no different, aside from something many in the Big Apple could have easily overlooked.

"I noticed there was a purse sitting on the floor," Taverna said. "I figured maybe there was an address or something in there, and all I saw was a piece of paper with something Russian on it."

Taverna says the purse was sitting up against a wall on the northbound 1 train platform, and because there were no MTA workers stationed there he decided to take it with him in hopes of tracking down the owner.

If not, he figured he could always bring it back the next day to give to an agent on the southbound side.

"I figured there was a story behind it and someone was upset about it," Taverna said.

Someone surely had 10,000 reasons to be upset.

"I realized the piece of paper was actually an envelope, and realized it was a big stack of money," Taverna said. "It's New York, I guess you never know what you're going to find."

Taverna's no Grinch. Knowing full well that finders aren't always keepers, he took the purse full of loot right to the NYPD.

"There was never any question about keeping it," he said. "You know obviously it was the right thing to do."

Taverna's find will no doubt be making one woman's holiday season a whole lot better. Cops are trying to reach the owner in her 50s, who reported the missing money to police when she was on her way to Russia. They say Taverna's good deed is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.