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Man finds $17,000 in cash on sidewalk, gives it back

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A suburban Chicago man who returned a bag containing thousands of dollars to its rightful owner was told on Friday that honesty does pay.

While waiting to use an automated teller machine outside a bank in suburban Chicago on Monday, Bob Adams spotted a clear bank bag packed with cash, apparently abandoned on the sidewalk.

"Originally I thought it was a joke," Adams told Reuters on Friday, saying he wondered if the bag had been stuffed with fake money and placed on the strip mall's sidewalk by pranksters. "When I picked it up I knew it was cash," said Adams, 54, of the Chicago suburb Arlington Heights.

"He found $17,021," Sergeant Mark Hogan of the Rolling Meadows Police Department said longingly. "Just like that."

But Adams didn't scoop the money and bolt -- his parents raised him to be honest, he said.

"There was no dilemma on me returning it," said Adams, an engineer at a Chicago hospital.

Adams then brought the bag into the nearby JPMorgan Chase & Co. bank branch and showed the manager, who said it wasn't their money.

Deterred but not having second thoughts, Adams combed the bag for clues. Using receipts from the bag, Adams and a bank manager determined the cash was destined for a drugstore ATM several miles away, but the cash was somehow mislaid by the ATM-filling company Loomis.

Loomis employees were already searching for the money when they received the call, Sergeant Hogan said.

"They were happy to get the call and a representative from Loomis came out and collected the money," Hogan said.

Loomis followed-up with Adams on Friday by repeatedly thanking him for his honesty during a long phone telephone exchange.

"'Rest assured that our investigation should be winding down in the next few days and we will take care of you,'" Adams said the Loomis employee told him.

"This is an active Loomis investigation," said a Loomis employee who was not authorized to speak publicly. Others at the company could not be reached for comment.

"It might have been someone who was broke or who had a lot of bills who would think it was manna from heaven -- they would have put it in their pocket and walked away," Hogan said, adding that the charge for doing so is theft of lost property.

"This guy did the absolute right thing and should be commended for his honesty," Hogan said.

(Reporting by Eric Johnson; Editing by Greg McCune)

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