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Sheriff’s Deputy Stumbles Upon $10,000 Lost on Floor of Coffee Shop

The cash is returned to its rightful owner, a 66-year-old Goleta man

It wasn’t exactly like winning the lottery, but a little luck and some fortuitous timing proved to be a $10,000 difference for a 66-year-old Goleta man.

Shortly before 11 a.m. Jan. 12, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Deputy Tony Kouremetis stopped at Coffee Mojo on the 7000 block of Hollister Avenue in Goleta to pick up a cup of coffee while on break from patrol.

As he approached the counter to place an order, he stepped on an object lying on the ground. When he looked down, he discovered a stack of $100 bills neatly wrapped with a band that said $10,000.

Kouremetis showed the stack of bills to the barista, who was just as shocked by the discovery. When Kouremetis asked who had been the last customer, the barista pointed to a couple sitting at a table outside Coffee Mojo.

Before contacting the couple, Kouremetis counted the money ($9,900) before securing the cash. He then spoke with the couple and learned that the 66-year-old man had recently lost his wallet and checkbook. The man had withdrawn the money to pay his bills, including a stop at the DMV next door. After further investigation, Kouremetis was able to confirm that the man had indeed made a payment at the DMV with a $100 bill from the stack of bills.

The money apparently had fallen out of the man’s bag when he stopped at Coffee Mojo. Kouremetis returned the cash to the man after determining the man was indeed the owner of the money.

When asked later about the incident, Kouremetis said, “That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

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