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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2008

Michigan scout does his duty, returns wallet, $800 to grateful owner

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jessica Cutler came to the party for J.R. Bouterse thrown by state troopers. She lost her wallet in a church lot in January. Jessica Cutler came to the party for J.R. Bouterse thrown by state troopers. She lost her wallet in a church lot in January.
T.J. HAMILTON / BPN Enlarge

DORR, Mich. - J.R. Bouterse was upset with himself last month when he returned home from watching his younger siblings take part in an Easter Egg hunt at a neighborhood park.

The Boy Scout had just discovered that he lost the wallet given to him at Christmas, along with the $45 inside that he just received for his 11th birthday.

So, a few weeks later, when he found someone else's wallet with more than $800 in a pile of snow in a church parking lot, he understood what the person who lost it was going through.

He immediately told an adult about his find, which was turned over to a law-enforcement official and returned to its owner.

"We're just so proud of him," the boy's mother, Michelle Bouterse, 41, told the Grand Rapids Press for a story yesterday. "We can't say enough."

She described J.R., short for John Robert, as "extremely mature and intelligent," the oldest of five children.

As a reward, the Wayland post of the Michigan State Police threw a pizza party Monday night, not only for the law-abiding child but for all 30 Scouts in Troop 90.

Another guest, to J.R.'s surprise, was Jessica Cutler, the wallet's owner, who wanted to thank him for his act of honesty.

"I can't believe someone would find a wallet with that much money in it and not take some," she said. "A lot of people maybe wouldn't have done that same thing. I'm just glad he found it and not someone else."

Ms. Cutler, 20, who manages a Burger King near Allegan, said it was five or six months ago that she cashed a check for two weeks' salary and stashed it in her wallet, planning to buy an aquarium. Things tanked, however, after she left the Open Dorr Reformed Church with boyfriend Gabriel Grevenstuk, 24, and found that she had her purse but no wallet. The two searched their vehicle, the church, and the parking lot.

"I work hard for my money," Ms. Cutler said. "I was definitely devastated."

J.R. found the wallet a little more than a week ago as he was leaving a Scout meeting at the church. "I knew exactly how she felt," he said.

Not exactly: His own wallet has not been returned to him.



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