Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming always says his department goes to great lengths to provide that extra level of service on the island.
Longboat Key visitor Dorothy Mikula can confirm Cumming’s department goes above and beyond to help those in need.
Mikula, a Rhode Island resident, left the Longboat Key CVS Pharmacy at approximately 9:30 a.m. July 9, realizing a short time later she left her red wallet, credit cards and $160 in cash behind at the drug store.
After reporting the incident to Longboat Key Police, Cumming’s department spent two days tracking down the missing wallet and returning it and all of its contents to Mikula.
CVS management told Mikula that no one had turned in her wallet, but CVS store manager Nick Thomas reviewed video surveillance that revealed the wallet fell off the counter and into a CVS plastic bag. That bag was then used to place merchandise for the next customer, who received both his item and the wallet in the plastic bag when he left.
Using the video, police were able to see the word “Veranda” on the man’s T-shirt before he left the store with the bag.
Police drove to the Veranda Beach Club, 2509 Gulf of Mexico Drive, where a staff member confirmed Veranda Beach Club employee Gary Christian of Bradenton was at CVS that day purchasing some Dramamine.
Police contacted Christian, who confirmed he bought Dramamine, but told police he didn’t think he left the store with a shopping bag.
Christian was asked to double check and contact police.
On the afternoon of July 10, Christian called police back and notified officers he dropped the wallet into a U.S. Post Office mailbox at the corner of Fruitville Road and Beneva Road in Sarasota.
Police advised Christian he was on a recorded line and asked him to recall if he was told to contact police if he found the wallet. Christian said he remembered, but got busy and decided to drop the wallet in a mailbox, in the hopes it would be mailed to the woman.
Police asked Christian if he saw any credit cards or cash in the wallet. Christian confirmed there were credit cards and $160 in cash, but told police he was hanging on to the $160 because he didn’t want it to get stolen.
That evening, police went to Christian’s home and retrieved the $160. Christian told police he panicked when he received the call from police and took the money out with the intention of returning it to police. Christian told police he knew his actions seemed suspicious and he should have returned the wallet and not put it in the mailbox.
Police were also able to contact the U.S. Postal Service and retrieve the wallet, complete with all of its contents.
Mikula confirmed all of her belongings were recovered, treating the police department to homemade cookies and pastries for going out of their way to find her wallet.
Town Manager Dave Bullock and the Longboat Key Town Commission were informed of the service via email praise from Mikula last week.
“I am proud to be associated with a police department that provides this level of service,” Cumming wrote in an email to commissioners and Bullock. “With the wallet and contents returned, this grateful visitor will enjoy her vacation and no doubt remember her experiences on Longboat Key fondly.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at KurtS@yourobserver.com.