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July 28, 2014

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Man returns $125,000 that fell from armored truck

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AP Photo/The Fresno Bee, George Hostetter

In this photo taken on Thursday, May 29, 2014, Joe Cornell is shown in Fresno, Calif. Cornell, who returned a bag full of about $125,000 that fell out of Brinks truck, received a $5,000 reward and Brinks will make a separate $5,000 donation to the Salvation Army.

FRESNO, Calif. — A Salvation Army worker in California is being rewarded for his decision to return a bag containing $125,000 that fell from an armored truck.

Joe Cornell tells The Fresno Bee that he found the cash Tuesday after a Brinks truck pulled away from a red light in Fresno and left the sack behind.

"I started crying and shaking," Cornell said. "Everything was going through my mind — the good devil/bad devil thing. What to do?"

Thoughts of the imminent arrival of his fourth grandchild soon helped him decide.

"I thought, 'What would I want her to think of me?' That made up my mind right there," he said. "I got on my radio and called my boss. 'Hey, I found a bag of money.' "

Cornell, 52, is in a Salvation Army substance-abuse rehabilitation program. His duties for the organization include working on donated trailers.

"I went down there carrying the bag like I was Santa Claus," Cornell said.

Brinks spokesman Ed Cunningham said he isn't sure how the truck lost the money, and he called the incident a security issue.

The company will give Cornell a $5,000 reward and make a separate $5,000 donation to the Salvation Army.

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