The mystery over the wallet filled with hundreds of dollars, found at a Central New York gas station has been solved.

Kurt Palmer of Chadwicks stopped at the Oriskany Boulevard Fastrac in Utica to fill up. He tried using his card at the pumps but it wouldn't work. So he had to go in and pre-pay. "I was on the phone while I was pumping gas and totally forgot about putting the wallet on top of the pump," Palmer said. "Then I drove off without it."

Michael Venetozzi found the wallet in a strange twist of fate. "I only get gas at one station. I was running low and didn't want to backtrack so I stopped at that FastTrac, which I never do, and saw the wallet on the pumps."

Palmer's boss heard about Venetozzi finding the wallet and turning it to social media to find the owner. "I don't have Facebook," Palmer said. "I thought my boss was messing with me, I didn't think there was any way someone would turn it in. Not with that much money in it."

It was about more than losing the money for Palmer. "I would've had to replace a number of special licenses I need and that would have taken months, especially with all the delays during the pandemic. There are also things in my wallet that can't be replaced and that's worth more than any amount of money."

Palmer and Venetozzi have been in touch and plan to meet in a few days. "Things like this don't happen to me," said Palmer. "I'm so thankful."

Captain Underpants

Venetozzi is no stranger to stepping up to help. In 2019, he made news when he pulled three drivers out of flood waters at the Riverside Center in North Utica in his underwear.

Venetozzi has heard every underwear joke imaginable but he'd rather be called Captain Underpants than a hero. "I just did what anyone would do," he said while choking back tears. "We have men and women overseas. They are the real heroes."

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