Hampstead charity shop finds $9,700 left by mistake in donated handbag
PUBLISHED: 18:44 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:37 24 February 2018
Kindhearted staff at the Shelter boutique in South End Green have now reunited the wad of $100 dollar notes with the pensioner who it belonged to - after tracking her down via her gift aid form.
The grateful woman in her 70s, from Hampstead, had not realised the cash was in the bag as she thought it had been stolen.
Sophie Condren, 23, manager of the Shelter boutique in Hampstead, said she was sifting through a collection of bags donated last Tuesday when she found the money tucked into a little evening bag.
She said: “I was going through a bag full of handbags and then found this big wad of hundreds.”
She called over shop volunteer Siobhan O’Connell who thought the money was not real at first.
Ms O’Connell said: “When I first saw it, I thought it was Monopoly money. But then I looked closer and realised it was 100 dollar bills.
The pair counted the cash to find it added up to $9,700.
This is the equivalent of around £7,000 in sterling.
Former fashion student Miss Condren said: “It was a lot of money and it was very obviously an error.”
She did not consider keeping the money saying: “I wouldn’t want the bad karma.”
The team soon realised they could trace the owner via the gift aid form she had filled in when donating the bags, and found her identity and address.
Ms O’Connell, who is retired, added: “The owner came in to collect the money and said she thought it had been stolen a while ago but it was sitting in the bottom of a bag.
“We wouldn’t have dreamed of keeping it.
“With all that is going on in the charity sector and giving us a bad name, we are not all creeps.
“Most of us are very honest people.”
The owner of the cash, who is from Hampstead, did not want her identity to be made public.
The Shelter boutique, on South End Road, stocks a mix of designer, vintage and high end high street pieces, with all proceeds supporting the work of the UK homelessness and housing charity, Shelter.
The shop was designed in 2016 by Wayne Hemingway, as part of a project to celebrate the charity’s 50th anniversary.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Hampstead boutique should visit: england.shelter.org.uk/support_us/shops/hampstead_heath_boutique.