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Sad ending turns happy in Fayetteville lost wallet tale

Update: Jan. 11 - Joseph and Lillie Smith have received several donations, including some anonymously, from community members wanting to help make up for the money and gift cards in the wallet. Now the wallet and it contents are being returned. Smith said, "After talking to several donors we have decided to pay it forward when we receive blessings because of this incident."

Update: Jan. 10 - The case of the missing wallet took a turn for the good when Fayetteville resident Joseph Smith received a call from the Fayetteville Police Dept. on Jan. 9 saying that a call had been received from the Pike County Sheriff's Office indicating that the wallet and its original contents had been turned in by an attorney. Fayetteville officers said they will pick up the wallet and return it to the family, said Smith.

It was only a New Year’s Day shopping trip to the Kohl’s store. But for Fayetteville residents Joseph and Lillie Smith, it was also a reminder that not all citizens in a community can be counted on to do the right thing.

Smith and his wife Lillie had finished shopping and were just inside the front door folding their baby stroller before leaving the store, Smith said. Though he did not realized it until later, Lillie’s wallet fell from the stroller and went undetected on the floor as the couple and their newborn baby made their way out of the store and into the rain-soaked parking lot.

It was not until Jan. 2 that Smith realized that the wallet was missing. Smith said he later returned to Kohl’s after filing a police report, adding that he was given a copy of the video once Kohl’s loss prevention staff gave the okay.

“It was just inside the front door. Two young boys (one teenage and the other younger) with what looks like their mother,” Smith said of the woman who picked up the wallet. “She took the money out of the wallet and handed it to them.”

But there was more in the wallet than the $100 in cash. Smith said the wallet also contained $200-300 in gift cards and a bank card, adding that the card has since been cancelled.

Smith said he and Lillie were happily surprised, then quickly saddened, when the women and two boys walked away without turning the wallet over to store personnel. Their action, and especially that of the woman, leaves much to be desired, Smith said.

“It blows my mind, the adult taking it. But to have your children with you, I don’t know what to think about it,” Smith said. “It’s no wonder why (so many things in society) are the way they are. This is a prime example of it, and it’s stellar.”

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