By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — Police are crediting a North Shore woman for turning in a wallet she found at the YMCA on Leggs Hill Road on Sunday afternoon — along with the $1,800 in cash that was inside it.
Cindy Bailen told The Salem News that she had just arrived at the YMCA for a workout with her 9-year-old daughter when she spotted something that looked like a soda can in the parking lot.
Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t a can at all — but a “giant” wallet, she said.
“It was like an inch thick,” she said.
Bailen opened up the wallet to see if there was any identification in it and then brought it inside to see if staff could locate its owner via his membership information.
“I saw a ton of money, but I didn’t touch it, I didn’t go anywhere near it,” Bailen said. “I would want someone to do the same for me.”
Staff at the YMCA couldn’t locate the man in their membership ranks because he had only been at the facility for some type of party, Bailen said. So she contacted 911 and was directed to the Salem police station, where an officer counted the money and told her it was about $1,800.
“I was with my daughter, and her eyes were bulging out of her head,” Bailen said.
Police determined that, in addition to the cash, the wallet held a Chase Freedom credit card, multiple forms of identification and other items. The wallet apparently belonged to a William Simons out of New York; police contacted him via a phone number they found inside the wallet and said that he’d made arrangements to retrieve it.
Sgt. Andrew Dacy said Simons was “extremely lucky” that Bailen was so honest, but Bailen said it was simply a matter of “privacy” and “respect.”
“At no point did I even consider taking it,” she said. “I would’ve felt extremely guilty.”
After the police station, Bailen returned to the YMCA for her workout.
Bailen asked that her specific place of residence not be identified.