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Salt Lake teens find cash in hidden backpack, turn it in

Published August 30, 2011 4:09 pm

Discovery • Police contacted after boys stumble across $20,000 in wooded area in Avenues.
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Two Salt Lake City teenage boys building a fort on a lazy summer afternoon a little more than a week ago found a hidden treasure that could have built them a much nicer fort — but they turned it in.

"It was a needle in a haystack," said Salt Lake City police spokesman Dennis McGowan. The teens stumbled onto a backpack filled with a pair of gloves, Ziplock bags and more than $20,000 in cash.

"They found it and realized it was valuable and significant," McGowan said, adding that the boys took it to a parent who called police to report it. "It all worked out perfectly from a police perspective."

While working on the fort in a wooded area of the Avenues, one of the boys found a golf ball and let it roll down the hillside, according to a police report. When the boy went to find the ball, he spotted a backpack "shoved under some bushes," according to the report.

Seeing a significant amount of cash inside, the boys brought the backpack home and showed to a parent.

Fearing the cash may have been part of a crime, a parent of one of the teens called police. McGowan said the parent and boys did the right thing.

Finds like this aren't common, McGowan said, noting that the likelihood of the cash being discovered was a "pretty chance circumstance."

Police were pleased to see the teens doing a good deed and the "right thing by getting it to dad," McGowan said.

The origin or owner of the backpack is unknown at this time.

Investigators are working with multiple agencies to find the original owner or see if the cash was involved in a crime.

cimaron@sltrib.comTwitter: @CimCity