An off-duty New York City police officer who found a lost wallet in Bavyille went the extra mile or two on Sunday – finding out who lost the wallet and traveling to return it to her door.
Derek Wilkins, a NYPD cop, found the wallet on Bayville Avenue, the road leading to Centre Island, on Sunday evening, picked it up and then had the mystery of the missing wallet on his hands.
“I was riding my bike in Bayville and found a wallet on the ground,” he said. “It was in the middle of the street.”
A license could make this easy to solve, but there was no such luck in this case.
There was no driver’s license, since it turns out that the owner of the wallet keeps her license in a pocket with her cell phone, where it’s at her disposal to use when she travels.
Wilkins thought he might be able to get the credit card companies to contact the owner, but had no luck with that.
He then did what he would have done if he was on duty: He contacted someone in the police department, who did a search of Department of Motor Vehicle records.
“At work, that’s what we usually do,” he said. “We run it through the system and find out if there’s an address close by.”
Wilkins drove to the house to return the wallet, standing on the doorstep as he introduced himself and returned the wallet to its owner only minutes after she returned from Bayville.
“It wasn’t too far from me,” he said. “I was hoping they were still in Bayville.”
The woman who asked not to be identified said she had been at that beach and walked across the street to the parking lot.
“I didn’t have any idea that I lost my wallet,” she said after the wallet was returned. “I was surprised. I must’ve lost it when I was crossing the street.”
Like many people, Wilkins said he has been on the other end of the transaction as well, misplacing his wallet over the years.
“I’ve lost my wallet,” he said. “It’s never been recovered. It’s a pain to get your license back, your credit cards back.”
In the police department, he said people often return wallets to precincts. Locating the owner usually isn’t difficult.
“People come up and say, ‘I found this wallet.’ And we have to deal with it,” he said. “Typically, they use the license to identify the person.”