Good Samaritan returns wallet with hundreds of dollars inside

Winter Haven police say a man whose wallet was stolen right out from under him while shopping at Publix has gotten it back.

It happened Saturday, Dec. 26 around 11:40 a.m. Jim Lear, a veteran and former Winter Haven city commissioner, was on a motorized cart in an aisle at the Publix on 6th Street, NW when his wallet fell on the floor.

Police said he didn't realize his wallet had fallen onto the floor and, before he could, a black male wearing a white t-shirt, white ball cap and light-blue pants walks up beside Lear, picks up the wallet and keeps walking.

Lear told police he didn't realize his wallet was gone until he was ready to check out. He called his bank to cancel the card and his bank account had already been compromised - 8 minutes after the wallet was taken.

The wallet was found in a nearby dumpster with at least $600 in cash hidden inside the wallet. The man who found the wallet, Rick Ochoa, returned the wallet with the cash still inside.

Lear met Ochoa at the Winter Haven Police Department Tuesday where he hugged Ochoa and gave him a $100 reward.

Police are still searching for the suspect, described as a dark-skinned, black male, between 30- and 45-years-old and about 6' tall. He was wearing a white t-shirt, white ball cap, light-blue pants and has what appears to be reading glasses hanging on the front of his shirt.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a CASH reward.