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ANCHORAGE - A woman was finishing the last of her holiday shopping in downtown Anchorage last month when she spied what most shoppers only dream of: $10,000 in cash lying on the street.
As she waited to cross the street, Kathy Wood looked down and saw a large pile of $100 bills.
"The largest wad was still intact, and the rest of it was starting to blow down the street," she said.
Wood got a couple and their 12-year-old son to help chase down the $3,000 or so that had fluttered off.
"For a moment I looked down at the money and I thought, 'Wow, I've just found $10,000! I'm rich!' " she said.
Her honesty kicked in quickly, though. Wood phoned Anchorage police, who dispatched officer C.R. Ritala. While waiting, Wood said she found one more $100 bill on the sidewalk. That turned out to be the last of the Ben Franklins.
"It's incredible that, under all the circumstances, all was recovered, with the wind blowing, all the people walking around," she said.
Police determined a woman had made a large withdrawal from Wells Fargo's mall branch and given $10,000 to her son. Officers returned the money to him after verifying it was the same cash.
Wood said the man, who does not want to be publicly identified, came by her office to deliver a thank-you note and a reward: five of the $100 bills.
He told Wood he walked out of the mall and went to slip the envelope into an inside coat pocket. Apparently he missed, and the money fell to the street. He realized it was gone later that night.
The reward was a pleasant surprise, Wood said, and she plans to put it toward the purchase of an Oriental rug for her living room.
"I can look at that rug and always remember this story instead of just using it to pay bills," Wood said.