Authorities in Freeport were pleasantly surprised when a wallet brimming with $900 in cash was brought to headquarters by a good Samaritan, but they were positively joyous over the arrest of the rightful owner, a man convicted of attempted murder who left the billfold on a bus, on a charge of violating parole.
“It was like we won the lottery,” Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said.
A village resident, whom police wouldn’t name but described as a “very nice and honest person,” came to the police station on the afternoon of Aug. 5 and presented the red leather wallet, saying he found it on the N43 NICE bus at the Freeport Long Island Rail Road station, said Chief Miguel Bermudez of the village police.
Inside was a single $100 bill, 40 $20 bills and a debit card bearing the name Frank McKithen.
Freeport Police Officer Juan Adames, a 21-year veteran, said he was working the desk and interviewed the good Samaritan, and other officers started researching McKithen.
“We were surprised that someone actually turned in the wallet with money,” Adames said.
The officers contacted Citibank — the issuer of the debit card — and checked Department of Motor Vehicles records, which showed McKithen had an active arrest warrant, police said.
McKithen, 73, of White Star Avenue in West Hempstead, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after his 1993 conviction for second-degree attempted murder and other charges for stabbing his wife, was paroled in October, authorities said.
McKithen failed to report to his parole officer in November, and an absconder warrant was issued for his arrest, according to an official for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, who declined to comment on what they had been doing to bring McKithen into custody.
The police contacted McKithen to pick up his wallet, and he showed up at the Freeport police station on Aug. 9 at about 9:50 a.m.
Officers took him into a secure room and gave him his wallet and cash. But whatever bliss he might have felt was fleeting.
He was soon in handcuffs.
“He didn’t act like he was surprised,” said Bermudez, who said McKithen didn’t resist. “The stars aligned for a bunch of events here . . . This keeps a dangerous person off the streets and makes us all safer.”