Playing it fair with $40,000

January 21, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

Urban Anthony Jones found more than $40,000 in a plastic bag on a Los Angeles street, but he didn’t keep the money.

He instead returned the cash to its rightful owner because, he said, it was instinct.

The 21-year-old Burbank High School graduate returned home from watching a movie with his girlfriend about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 3 when he saw his neighbor, Al Greenblat, outside their Los Angeles apartment building rummaging through trash next to a discarded mattress.

He noticed Greenblat was not acting like his usual self and the right side of his face was bruised.

“It’s weird, ‘cause I have never seen him out that late,” Jones said.

He told Greenblat to come inside the apartment building, but the 77-year-old denied that he lived there and insisted that the building was a manufacturing plant where he once worked.


When Jones asked Greenblat how he got injured, Greenblat told him that he fell on a concrete floor and had a concussion.

Greenblat walked away from Jones and into traffic, where he escaped being hit by two cars.

But that didn’t stop Jones from trying to help Greenblat.

As he chased Greenblat, he called paramedics. They arrived and tried to help Greenblat, but he refused.

Jones felt defeated, so he said he went back to his apartment building, where he saw a plastic medical bag lying next to the discarded mattress.

“When I picked it up and opened it, there was money everywhere,” he said.

He thought it belonged to Greenblat, so he tied up the bag, chased Greenblat and told him to take the bag and return to his apartment.

But Greenblat refused to go back to the apartment and said he was going to take the money to a bank.

Jones called police because, he said, he feared for Greenblat’s safety.

As he waited for police to come, he chased Greenblat down numerous streets until police finally arrived, Jones said.

He explained to police what had happened. They took Greenblat to the hospital, and he was later admitted to a convalescent home.

“They told me, ‘We really appreciate a good Samaritan like you,’” Jones said.

The bag contained more than $40,000, said Sgt. Leonel Vargas of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Anybody else would have taken the money,” he said. “What this young man did was impressive.”

In Vargas’ 10-year law enforcement career, he said, he has never seen, heard or met anyone who would have returned the large sum to the rightful owner.

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