Police are still awaiting the owner of the handbag filled with cash that was brought to the Kringwinkel Maasland second-hand store in Lanklaar on 20 June.
"The handbag contained a staggering €22,650," Kringwinkel Maasland Director Johan Vanherck told Het Belang van Limburg.
Upon arrival at Kringwinkel Maasland, all items are carefully examined for potential reuse at the central warehouse in Lanklaar. This includes bags left in recycling containers across the Flemish villages of Dilsen-Stokkem, Maaseik, Maasmechelen and Oudsbergen. "Sometimes, these textile containers also hold handbags," Vanherck said.
On 20 June, employee Michiel Watzeel inspected an old handbag. "Usually, nine times out of ten they are empty, but this particular bag was filled with banknotes ranging from €50 to €500," he said. "I couldn't believe my eyes. Initially, I suspected counterfeit money, but I promptly informed my director. In the end, it totaled €22,650. I had never seen such a large sum of cash."
The identity of the person who left the money-filled handbag in the thrift store container remains a mystery. It could be someone who cleared out a house and overlooked the handbag. "No rightful owner has come forward so far," Maasland police told Het Belang van Limburg. "The handbag and money are currently in police custody, as per the prosecutor's orders. This is all we can disclose at this stage."
- Belgian donations to charities rise despite reduced tax advantage
- Rolling into the weekend: It wasn't all bad in Belgium...
The 200 employees at Kringwinkel Maasland are hopeful that the rightful owner will eventually be identified. "I have already commended our employees for their honesty," said Director Vanherck.
"They are hoping the owner will show their appreciation by treating them to ice cream. However, for that to happen, someone needs to come forward. Property unclaimed after five years becomes government property. In this case, the money would go to the city of Dilsen-Stokkem. It might become a matter for the Dilsen-Stokkem Mayor in 2028."
Are the employees of Kringwinkel Maasland entitled to a fair reward for their discovery? Legally, yes. They have fulfilled their obligation by reporting the find to the police and handing over the money. The law only stipulates that the reward should be a reasonable compensation based on the circumstances. While the unwritten rule of receiving 10% of the value exists, it lacks legal substance.