Photo: Homeless in Brazil
A homeless couple turned over to police a bag containing about 20,000 reais ($10,000) that they found abandoned on a street in Brazil’s largest city, authorities said Monday.
The couple, who have been living together for about four months under a bridge in eastern Sao Paulo and support themselves by selling recyclable trash, approached a security guard in the wee hours Sunday and asked him to call the police to report the find.
The indigent couple said that they were sleeping when they heard an alarm, apparently from a nearby shop, and looked out to see what was happening.
They saw the bag with the money lying near a bus stop on a main thoroughfare in the eastern part of the city.
Rejaniel Silva Santos, 36, said that the first thing he thought about when he saw all the money in the bag was to call the police.
The man, who earns about 15 reais ($7.50) per day for recycling trash, said that the only thing he wants is for his mother, who lives in the northern state of Maranhao, to see him on television.
“My mother taught me that I must not steal and to tell the police if I see anyone doing anything (illegal). If she sees me on TV there in Maranhao she’ll know that her son is still one of the honest people in the world,” he said.
Police said that besides the money, inside the bag were checks and receipts that enabled them to determine that it was money stolen last week from a Japanese restaurant.
Santos said that he came to Sao Paulo 16 years ago from Maranhao to work in civil construction and decided to live on the street after losing his job and separating from his then-wife, with whom he had a son that he has never seen again.
He met his current partner, Sandra Reina Domingues, with whom he has been living for about four months, on the street.
The police officers who responded to the man’s call said that they had never dealt with a similar case and admitted that they were perplexed when Santos showed them the money and explained the situation to them.