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Man Finds Bag of Money and Temptation

How does temptation come? Sometimes with lots of warning and time to think, and we may succumb or resist after much deliberation. At other times temptation presents itself in the span of a few moments, and we react, making a quick decision to follow or flee from wrong desires.

Sudden temptation was what one man experienced when he walked into a suburban Chicago Walgreens in June of 2011. According to the Chicago Tribune, a security video shows that he walked up to an ATM in the store, set his drink on the floor, and did his banking. He then leaned over and picked up his drink, and did a double-take at what he saw on the floor. There was a bag with a Chase bank logo on it filled with cash and checks. According to the Tribune, the security video shows that "he pauses for a moment, his eyes riveted to the floor. Then he takes a long look around, picks something up and slips out the door."

The man got in his car with the money and drove away. The bag contained over $17,000. By the time he had driven to his home suburb some 45 minutes away, he had time to weigh his decision further, and realizing he had probably been captured on video he decided to turn in the money to the bank, according to the Tribune. Unfortunately, he also decided to lie about where he found the money. He walked into a Chase bank in Rolling Meadows and said that he had found the money in a Rolling Meadows mall.

The story hit the newspapers. Writer Burt Constable says that the man was featured in newspapers around the world, gave interviews to radio and TV stations, was hailed as a hero on websites, received a gift basket and small gifts from strangers, was the object of romantic inquiries, was repeatedly asked about a reward, and even drew high praise from a nun for being so honest.

The Rolling Meadows police weren't so sure. It didn't take long to learn where the money had actually come from, and the FBI was brought in to aid in the investigation. A few weeks later, the police confronted the man with the truth, and he confessed to what had happened. He was fined $500 for filing a false police report. Far worse, no doubt, was the embarrassment he suffered as the real story also hit the newspapers.

After the truth came out, he admitted in an interview, "I did have that thought in my mind (upon finding the money): Yes, I could do a lot with that. I considered that to be the human reaction to seeing a large sum of money in front of me."

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