Massachusetts woman returns handbag containing $11,000

Nadine Bells
Good NewsNovember 21, 2012

Cheryl Gavazzi of Beverly, Massachusetts, was looking for a birthday present for her daughter-in-law in a Swampscott Marshalls this Tuesday when she discovered a pretty blue bag filled with rolled-up $100 bills hanging on a rack.

"I liked it, actually. I was thinking of buying it," she told Salem News. "I wanted to see the size of it, and there was a roll of money in there."

The Vera Bradley shoulder bag contained more than $11,000.

The bag also contained diapers, wipes, a wallet, and immunization records. She saw no ID or adult names or addresses.

"This is crazy," Gavazzi told the Boston Globe of the thoughts running through her head. "What do I do now? Do I ignore this and leave it hanging? If it's a drug thing, what do I do?"

The nervous shopper, paranoid that drug dealers might be watching her and certain the police needed to see it more than cashiers did, ran out of the store with the bag.

By the time she brought the bag to the Beverly police, a man had reported the bag missing.

"He went shopping with his family, his wife put the diaper bag down, and she forgot it," said Swampscott police detective Timothy Cassidy.

"You don't see good deeds like that very often. It was definitely a good thing that she did," Beverly police officer Dave Costa said. "It's nice to know that there are people out there like that, who do the right thing."

The bag was filled with the proceeds of a fundraiser to help build a church in Guatemala, the Associated Press reported.

The bag's owner later called Gavazzi to thank her for turning in the bag.

"He called me and said, 'I just want to thank you so much. It's not my money. I would have had to give up Christmas for my kids and sell my car,'" Gavazzi said of their conversation.

The man insisted she receive a $200 reward for her good deed.

Gavazzi, a mother of three and grandmother of two, insisted she returned the money because it was "the right thing to do."