bag of cash
Jade Small
Jade Small
May 21, 2024 ·  3 min read

Teen Finds $135,000 Sitting in a Bag Next to ATM – What He Did After Is A Reminder To All Parents

Doing the right thing is not always the easiest choice when temptation lurks. This is especially true when you are young. One teen, however, has made a decision that few would make. He found a bag filled with a lot of cash standing next to an ATM. Instead of taking it home and living a more lavish life than what they had before, he decided to report the missing money to the police. This made his mother extremely proud of him. As such, he was rewarded for his good deeds. 

He Did the Right Thing

Jose Nuñez Romaniz was a 19-year-old Albuquerque, New Mexico resident enrolled at university and is majoring in criminal justice. On a day, just like any other, he was out in town looking for some socks to buy for his grandfather. After he found the right ones, he realized he needed to pay for them online, and this meant he needed an ATM to deposit some money into his account. He drove to an outdoor Wells and Fargo ATM, and that was where he made a shocking discovery. 

He walked up to the ATM and got ready to deposit his cash. He looked down and happened to spot a “foot-long” bag of cash, left standing next to the machine. Speaking to the New York Times he said, “When I first saw it, I kind of stared at it for a few seconds, not knowing what to do.”

Jose Nuñez Romaniz standing beside the Wells Fargo ATM where he found the cash
Image Credit: Jose Nuñez Romaniz | CNN

When he gathered his wits, he realized that the wads of cash surmounted to $135,000! Many people might have run away with it, but Jose decided to do the right thing and he reported it to the police.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was, like, dreaming. And I was just in shock. I was looking at myself and just thinking, ‘What should I do?'” Jose said to CNN.

Jose was worried that this was a trap or some kind of trick. He feared that someone might kidnap him and hold him hostage, or this might involve him in some other crime. This led him to make a better decision. He called the police to report it because the bank was closed on Sundays. 

Read: Michigan Man Found $43,000 Worth Of Cash In A Second-Hand Couch And Returned Everything

His Parents Taught Him to Be Self-Reliant

Jose’s parents are Carmen Romaniz and Jose Nuñez Juarez. They had raised him to do the right thing. In an interview, Jose said, “My parents always taught me to work on my own. Stolen money would never last you any time.”  According to Jose, he could hear his mother’s voice in his head, and that was enough motivation for him. 

He seems to have made her proud because he told reporters: “She told me I did the right thing and that she was proud of me. She called me and almost started crying.”

He Was Rewarded for his Good Deeds

Jose Nuñez Romaniz and bag of cash

Officer Simon Drobik was the policeman who tended to the situation that Jose found himself in. He told CNN: “This money could have made an incredible amount of difference in his life if he went down the other path, but he chose the integrity path and did the right thing.” 

Jose comes from “humble beginnings” and this money could have provided them with more comfort. Instead, he handed it back in. Dobrik named him a “community hero” for having done something many would not. The rest of the locals in the area looked up to him, so he received a little bit of fame for his actions. He was rewarded with gift cards from local shops and restaurants, which came to the value of $500. 

Keep Reaidng: A driver heard a ‘weird noise’ in the car — then cops found it. And it was alive


  1. “Teenager, an Aspiring Detective, Returns $135,000 He Found” New York Times. May 2020.
  2. An Albuquerque man found $135K next to an ATM. Instead of walking away with it, he called police.CNN. Ed Lavandera and Jason Hanna.  May 8, 2020

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