MERRILLVILLE | A 27-year-old woman has no regrets about her decision to turn in $4,000 she found sitting in a Merrillville parking lot.
Shannon Baker, of Crown Point, said some people are puzzled when they hear about the situation and they have indicated they would have kept the money.
Baker responds to those queries with a question her 7-year-old daughter asked her July 5 when Baker located the cash near U.S. 30 and Merrillville Road.
"Isn't that stealing?"
Baker had just stopped at a vitamin store when she came across the money, which was in an envelope.
She initially thought it was just a piece a paper and she intended to throw it away.
"I was in shock," she said of her reaction when she realized how much money was in the envelope.
Her mother had a similar reaction when Baker told her what happened.
"She about had a heart attack," she said.
Baker didn't know what to do with the cash at first.
She didn't need to think hard about reasons why she should keep it.
Baker, who has osteoporosis, was pregnant, she and her husband were unemployed and neither of their cars was functioning.
Although she needed the money, she "didn't feel right keeping it."
Baker, her mother and daughter headed to the Merrillville Police Department that day and turned in the cash.
In late July, a woman contacted Merrillville police Sgt. Bob Morgan to claim the missing money.
She described the exact amount that was located, the denomination of the bills, the color of the money bands around the cash and the type of envelope the money was in.
If the cash hadn't been claimed within 180 days after it was turned in, Baker would have been entitled to it, Morgan said.
Baker said the woman who lost the money visited her to thank Baker for turning it in and to give her a small reward.
The woman didn't give Baker her name.
Baker's life has changed since she returned the money.
She had a baby boy July 25. Her husband's car is running again and he has found a job.
Baker remains upbeat even when people question her decision to hand over the found cash.
"It doesn't matter what people think," Baker said.