The gift of honesty

Shoppers get purse, money back

As Black Friday shoppers poured through the aisles of Walmart in search of the best deals, one couple soon became devastated when a purse containing more than $1,000 went missing.

Lt. Dennis Mernka was working off duty Thanksgiving night when a couple approached him, he said.

“A couple came up to me and said they thought their purse got stolen out of their car,” Mernka recalled.

Mernka called an officer to the store to take a report, he said.

During that time, Cassie Reis, backroom co-manager, was told a purse had been found in the electronics department.

Reis was at the front of the store.

“I told them I would go back there immediately to pick up the purse,” she said.

The purse was located behind the register.

An associate in electronics told Reis he didn’t know who put it there, she said.

“I think it was our electronics team — as soon as they found it they put it back behind our counter,” Reis said.

Reis brought the purse with her to the accounting office and had one of the customer service managers verify that she opened it to look for identification.

Once identified, Reis paged out the customer’s name, she said.

It wasn’t long before the customer approached Reis and described the purse.

The woman was elated.

“She was in tears,” Reis said. “She thanked me.”

Her husband was happy too, Reis said.

“He had told me nothing was touched in the purse,” Reis said. “It makes me feel good that I got to give that back to them.”

“I would be going crazy if it was me,” she added. “Not just the money, but everything she had in her purse. She had her phone in there. All of her personal items. Especially the time and the event. There’s a lot of things that could have went wrong.”

Meanwhile, Mernka was informed the purse had been found.

“She said they had $1,100 and it was all there,” Mernka said. “The guy said every penny was in there. I said go home and pray tonight because that was very good. That doesn’t happen very often.”