Wallet Found in Central Park Tree 27 Years After Theft

Upper East Sider Ruth Bendik never thought she'd see her wallet again after it was snatched while she watched the New York City Marathon in 1982. Never say never.

Nearly 30 years after she was ripped off, the 69-year-old woman got a pleasant surprise last week when her wallet was discovered stashed inside a dying cherry tree in Central Park, according to The New York Post

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Bendik recalled. "I was in the park, walking over to greet the runners after they finished, and I was in a crush of people, and all of a sudden, I realized my purse felt very light."

Although the blue leather wallet has been recovered, the $20 that was inside it is long gone. The only money left was a 1982 dirt-encrusted penny, according to the Post. Yellowed photo holders contained credit cards from antiquated companies such as Bell Telephone and Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank as well as Bendik's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ID and her student ID from Columbia University Teachers College.

A tree-care supervisor – Josh Galiley -- found the wallet in the hollow of a tree he took down near Rumsey Playfield and East 72nd Street. He and two colleagues had just cut the tree into several pieces, and he started fishing in the hollow to finish the job.

"I started poking around with a shovel a little more, and it was at the base of the hole," Galiley told the Post. "It was clearly a woman's wallet at the bottom of five feet of compost."

Galiley forked the wallet over to Central Park cops and a detective returned it to its rightful owner the next day.

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