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Argyle 5th-grader who turned in $4,000 he found gets rewarded

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Elvia Limón, The Dallas Morning News

FLOWER MOUND — After a fruitless search for a Texas Tech T-shirt, 11-year-old Blake Leonard and his father, Michael, walked back through the parking lot toward their car. That's when Blake saw a bag he assumed was a woman's purse.

But when Blake grabbed the small pouch and showed it to his dad, they both realized it was a bank bag filled with $2,000 in cash and $2,000 in checks. Nervous about this unexpected birthday surprise, Blake suggested they turn in the money in hopes it would be reunited with its owner.

"That's a lot of money, and so we took it to the police department and gave it to them," Blake said. "It's the right thing to do."

Because of the unanticipated trip to the Flower Mound Police Department that late-September afternoon, Michael Leonard said he and Blake were unable to make it to the store in time to buy the youngster a birthday cake.

But the Argyle fifth-grader's honesty ultimately earned him a sweeter reward.

On Monday night, Flower Mound Police Chief Andy Kancel and Mayor Tom Hayden recognized Blake at a Town Council meeting.

Kancel awarded the boy a certificate, a Flower Mound police patch, a police coin, a notepad and an offer to one day join the police force.

"I can tell that the decision that you made came easy to you," Kancel told Blake. "You made a strong decision that served you well. I'll be having you here in about 11 years, and I look forward to that if you'll have me as your boss."

The money belonged to a youth sports league, and Kancel said police were able to track down the owners within hours of Blake turning it in. He said the woman who lost the bag of cash told police she believed her daughter accidentally kicked it out while trying to get in their vehicle.

Kancel said the woman did not want to be identified because she was afraid of losing her job, but was in tears and said she was thankful when police contacted her.

"Since I've been here these last four years, I think it's the first time that's happened," the chief said. "We found the owner and got them back their money, which is awesome."

Blake and his father never met the woman and don't know who she is. Michael Leonard said he and his wife, who was out of town on a work trip Monday, were proud of their son's decision, which they knew he made without expecting anything in return.

"His decision to turn it in was immediate," Leonard said. "As a parent, it reconfirms everything that you're teaching him."

And now that he's seen the results of his good deed, Blake said he recommends others do the same if they are in a similar situation.

"Do the right thing and give it back," he said. "You'll feel good."