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Council will decide Monday whether teen keeps found money

Matthew Lindemann walks along the Pullman Avenue route where he found $160 on his way to school. (Bulletin photo by Patricia Drey Busse)

The St. Paul Park City Council will decide Monday whether to reward a 15-year-old for his honesty.

The city's police chief is recommending that the council give Oltman Junior High ninth-grader Matthew Lindemann the $160 he found while walking to school in late-October.

"It's the right thing to do," said St. Paul Park Police Chief Mike Monahan. "It demonstrates that if a young person does the right thing, it can be rewarded and should be rewarded."

City law requires city staff to hold the money for 60 days, which they have done, and says that if the money is unclaimed it goes into the general fund, but Monahan said this is a special case. He said it's rare that anything of value gets turned in to the police.

St. Paul Park Mayor John Hunziker said he's not so sure giving the money to the teen is the right thing to do.

"I'm still kicking it around," he said. "What happens if a senior discovers that the money is missing from his wallet or her purse a month or two down the road?"

Hunziker said a finder's fee is typically 10 percent, or $16 in this case. Ultimately the decision will depend on what the other council members think, he said.

No other council members could be immediately reached for comment.

Lindemann said he'd like to see the money be donated somewhere. If he gets it, he said he'd donate it to someone in need through his church.

The student said after he found the money, he called his dad to ask him what he should do. He told him to turn it over to the police, so Lindemann gave it to an officer that regularly visits the school.

"I wanted to keep it, but you've got to listen to your parents," he said.