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Paynesville Press - July 6, 2005

Girls awarded money after finding bank bag in river

By Michael Jacobson

Just after school started last fall, Stephanie Lucas and Whitney Woehler, then seventh graders at PAMS, headed to the Crow River Nature Park in Paynesville to try and find some crayfish as extra credit for science class.

While probing the river, they found a bank bag under a rock. "We didn't know what it was," said Woehler. "We just tried to open it."

Girls found money When they couldn't, they took it to the house of teacher Connie Wimmer, who told them to call the police. "We didn't know what to do, so we went to Mrs. Wimmer's house and she said to call the police," said Woehler.

Whitney Woehler and Stephanie Lucas found this bank bag full of money in September 2004 in the Crow River in Paynesville.

The bag appeared to have been stashed in the river following a robbery, said Paynesville Police Chief Kent Kortlever, who contacted a half dozen businesses who had been the victim of thefts in efforts to identify the owner. The police also advertised the found property, but no one claimed the bank bag.

Money in the bag was dated from 1995, so the bank bag was lost or stolen within the past ten years.

The bag, intended for Farmers and Merchants State Bank, included small bills (in denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20) and some change.

Exactly how much the girls will earn is not known, though the bag contains at least a couple hundred dollars. Much of the money, though, is damaged and stuck together. They plan to send it to the treasury department to have it cleaned and separated.

When they receive their money, Lucas, the daughter of Tina and Todd Froelich, and Woehler, the daughter of Kelli and Tim Woehler, plan to buy an electric guitar to fulfill their dream to form a girl band.

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