Jerry LaLiberte, 62, of Holmes Beach, was working in the home last month when he discovered two foil-wrapped packets of cash that were hidden in an air duct, WFTS-TV Tampa reports.
“I was scared. It scared me. My hands were shaking,” LaLiberte told the news station. “I wasn’t sure what to do, to tell the truth.”
LaLiberte says the one thing that he never thought to do was to keep the money. So he called his bosses, who in turn called police and the homeowner.
“The old homeowner was a widow who stashed money all over her house,” says Stewart Moon of Air & Energy heating and air conditioning service, where LaLiberte has worked for the last 8 years.
“When she died she told her children where everything was. Apparently, she missed some places.”
For that reason, police asked Moon not to disclose the location of the house for fear of vandals.
Air & Energy manager Lorna Yankee says she spoke with the homeowner, who wasn’t surprised to hear about the stash of cash, The Bradenton Herald reports.
“I guess this hasn’t been the first time they’d been left money like this in this house,” Yankee says. “They just hadn’t found this part of it.”
As for LaLiberte, it’s rather awkward to be lauded for turning the cash in, he says. “I think it’s a shame that I should be a big hero for doing the right thing.”