Updated: May 07, 2020 05:19 PM
Created: May 07, 2020 04:47 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- An Albuquerque teenager was praised for his honesty after finding and returning more than $100,000.
Jose Nunez Romaniz, 19, said he was shopping for socks with his grandfather on Sunday when he spotted $135,000 in cash near an ATM at Central and Juan Tabo.
Jose said he couldn't believe what he stumbled upon.
"Just thinking about it was a prank," he said. "I just didn't know what to think to be honest."
"We all know that temptation, even just to take a little, one of the bundles off the top," Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said as he honored Jose.
The 19 year old did not take any of the money. He said his mother was a big reason why he knew he had to turn it in.
"In the back of my head, I was just thinking about my parents, especially my mom ,what she would do if I came home with the money, what she would do with her chancla to hit me," he said.
APD Chief Mike Geier said Jose's actions are well deserved of the praise.
"This really restores our faith in the community," he said.
Jose received a plaque from the city, and an invitation to apply for a police service aid position.
PNM also have him a check for $500 to use toward his classes at CNM.
ESPN Radio also hooked Jose up with some gear, signed by athletes like Brian Urlacher.
Putting the gifts and praise aside, Jose said he knew his actions were about doing the right thing.
"It could have helped us out a lot, but I never thought about taking it. I was just thinking about the people's money that was impacted by COVID-19 and how they would act if I took their money away, so just trying to give it back to the community," he said.
Officials said a worker left the money near the ATM, and never loaded into the machine.
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