SHS grad finds, returns $50,000 in trunk of Mercedes-Benz

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Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth service technician Juan Ibarra was doing a certification on a Mercedes-Benz SL550 the dealership had received as a trade-in when he discovered a bag in the trunk. When he opened the bag he saw stacks of $100 bills.

“I jumped back like I’d seen a snake,” said Ibarra. “My first thought was, ‘is this dirty money?’ I immediately took it to my service director. Nobody wanted to touch it. We didn’t even count it.”

Stephenville HS grad, Juan Ibarra, found $50,000 in cash in a car while working at Park Place Motorcars in Fort Worth last month. || Photos by David Alvey
Stephenville HS grad, Juan Ibarra, found $50,000 in cash in a car while working at Park Place Motorcars in Fort Worth last month. || Photos by David Alvey

Ibarra started at Park Place Motorcars 10 years ago as a porter. He’s been a service tech for nearly eight years.

“Juan has always been a real ‘go-to’ guy,” said George Johnson, Park Place Motorcars general manager. “He’s a man of the highest integrity. I’m very proud of him.”

Ibarra graduated from Stephenville High School in 2002 and attended Universal Technical Institute (UTI) for automotive technician training. He graduated UTI in 2003.

“It never even crossed my mind to take any of the money,” continued Ibarra. “We just wanted to find out who the money belonged to and get it back to them.”

Park Place Motorcars Technician and 2002 SHS grad Juan Ibarra (L) with Park Place Motorcars GM George Johnson. || Photos by David Alvey
Park Place Motorcars Technician and 2002 SHS grad Juan Ibarra (L) with Park Place Motorcars GM George Johnson. || Photos by David Alvey

It took about a week before the owner was tracked down. It turned out he was a bail bondsman and the cash wasn’t his either. He’d taken it for a bond. Needless to say, he was very relieved to find it. After counting the money, he confirmed that all $50,000 was accounted for and was thankful someone honest had found it.

“About a month later the guy came back with a nice card and some money in it,” said Ibarra. “The card was enough for me. He was very grateful.”

Juan and his wife, Marislo Ibarra, have two daughters Abigail, 6, and Ely Jocelyn, 4.

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