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Money Is Latest Debris To Wash Ashore

August 16, 1988

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) _ Beachgoers undeterred by the medical waste washing up here this summer found something much more interesting in the water - money.

Great gobs of cash appeared at Weekapaug Beach over the weekend, prompting at least 40 people to run, giggling and screeching, into the water to pick it up.

″You had your own little spot and you just stood there and watched the seaweed,″ said Leonard Francois of Springfield, Mass., who found $23 Sunday. ″It was in the seaweed. Sometimes it was rolled up and when you went to grab it, it got washed away. If you saw green you just had to jump for it.″

Lifeguard Dean Perri, 20, said the scene was ″wild.″

″People were digging in the sand with sticks and turning over the seaweed,″ he said. ″One girl was yelling, ’Mommy, Mommy, look what I found. She had two $100 bills. My boss found 80 bucks.″

Most of the money displayed Monday by the finders appeared in good shape and was dated 1985.

The cash began washing ashore Wednesday. Unlike the needles, syringes and other medical debris discovered here, the money was not immediately reported to lifeguards, police or state environmental authorities.

Secret Service agent Joseph G. Sullivan said that as far as the U.S. Treasury Department, which runs the agency, is concerned, it’s ″finders keepers.″

Many finders speculated it was drug money, but Perri had another idea. ″Maybe the hospitals that have been dumping the medical waste are putting money in the water now to bribe us,″ he said.

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