Calumet Heights

Investor Finds Nearly $10,000 in Cash in Renovated Home, Returns Money to Original Owner

Jim Dow found the money while renovating a home in the Calumet Heights neighborhood, and tracked down the home's previous owner to return it to her

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A real estate investor was hit with the surprise of a lifetime when he discovered nearly $10,000 in cash hidden throughout a Chicago home he purchased to renovate and sell.

Jim Dow, a HomeVestors franchisee, has been plying his trade for years, purchasing homes and re-selling them. This, however, was a first for him, after he found the cash in an investment property in the Calumet Heights neighborhood in late August.

“As I was looking around the couch there were two banker deposit envelopes….and they were full of cash,” he said.

Those envelopes were thick, Dow recalled, and contained approximately $2,500 in cash.

He decided to do a walk-through, searching for cash in the rest of the home.

“I noticed another corner of a white envelope, and there were three of them,” he said. “Those had another $7,500 in them.”

In all, Dow said he found nearly $10,000 in cash spread throughout the house.

“I counted it,” he said. “I figured no one would believe me, so I laid it out and took a picture.”

After calling his wife, Dow said he immediately knew what he had to do: contact the family members of the original owner of the house.

“I called the [owner’s] nephew who was helping her and I said ‘you want to come back and get this,’” Dow said.

The original owner, a woman in her 80s, didn’t trust banks, her nephew said. She suffers from dementia, and recently moved to Arizona to live with her family.

Dow insisted on returning the money to the woman and her family, and although they offered him a reward for turning in the cash, he insisted that they keep it, and to pay it forward to help someone else who may need it.

“I’m just an everyday person,” he said. “I’m one of the good guys, and I think there are lots of other good people in the world.”

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