Minnesota Teens Fishes a Wallet Full of Cash on a Lake and Returns it to Owner


Photo: Connor Halsa and Jim Denny via WDAY News

A 14-year-old from Minnesota got the best vacation story days before going back to school.

Connor Halsa was enjoying his summer break and decided to do one last outing before his freshman year starts at Moorhead High School. He went fishing with his family on Lake of the Woods, the sixth-largest freshwater lake in the US, with over 70 miles of water. They planned a drift for walleye so they stopped their boat and cast their lines when the teen felt something heavy with his line.

“I thought I had a huge fish, so I set the hook really hard,” Connor said.

We didn’t work hard for the money, he did, so it was his money. —Connor Halsa, 14

He immediately reeled and was surprised to find a brown billfold at the end. “My cousin opened the wallet up, and he said some words you probably shouldn’t say, and he showed everyone, and we took the money out and let it dry out,” the teen told WDAY 7 news.

Inside the wallet was $2,000 in cash. Luckily, a soggy business card was also inside, and Connor used the number to track down the owner.

“We didn’t work hard for the money, he did, so it was his money,” Connor said.

The owner, Jim Denny, a farmer who lives 600 miles away in Iowa. He lost his billfold during a fishing retreat a year ago.

“I tell you what, I have the billfold in my hands, and it is still hard to believe,” Jim said. He suspected that his wallet slipped from his back pocket because of choppy waters.

Connor hooking the billfold within one million acres of lake is extraordinary. “The odds of ever finding or hooking a billfold in 20 feet of water — I don’t think there’s a number,” Jim said.

Jim travelled from Iowa to Minnesota to meet the Halsa family and personally thank Connor. He offered money to Connor as a sign of gratitude, but the teen refused to take any money from Jim.

“To meet people like that, who are that honest, I tried to get them to take the money, and they wouldn’t do it,” the farmer revealed. “I would take Connor as a grandson any day, and I would fight for him any day.”

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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