Oregon man tosses out shoe box — then remembers $22,000 inside, trash collectors say

Recycling workers in Northern California were on the lookout.

The Humboldt County team’s counterparts in Ashland, Oregon, had called earlier to warn them that an Oregon man had mistakenly included “shoeboxes full of cash” on the curb with his recycling — so sorters in California should watch out for it, according to a Recology Humboldt County Facebook post on Friday.

Luckily for the man who lost his cash, the Humboldt County workers have good eyes.

“Eureka!” the Humboldt County team wrote on Facebook, sharing photos of the money. “We found it!”

The cash added up to more than $22,000, according to Recology Humboldt County, and sharing the good news with the customer it belonged to “made his day.”

One photo released by Recology shows neatly stacked piles of $20 bills, $50 bills and $100 bills with orange sticky notes on top signifying each group of $1,000. Another picture shows workers counting up the cash in an office.

The southern Oregon area’s recycling is sent to a facility outside of Eureka to be sorted, so that’s who Recology Ashland alerted after the man reported accidentally recycling the old, cash-stuffed Vans shoe box, the Lost Coast Outpost reports.

“[The money] fell out of the shoe box and it was literally a pile of cash coming up the conveyor belt,” said Recology Humboldt County operations manager Brian Sollum, per the Outpost. “Never have we heard of someone throwing money away. It’s rare to be able to find it.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.