Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million
Following best-selling and award-winning books such as Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo, Mark Bowden has won widespread acclaim for his ability to report true-life events in riveting detail, with a singular eye for human drama. Now Finders Keepers recounts a mystery that captivated the city of Philadelphia when $1 million went missing. Hard times had left Joey Coyle -- a likable longshoreman from the close-knit working-class neighborhood of South Philadelphia -- living with his ailing mother and struggling to support a drug habit. One afternoon, Coyle was on his way to score drugs when, just blocks from his home, he found two curious yellow containers lying in the street. As it turned out, they had just fallen off the back of an armored van, and they contained $1 million in unmarked money from a casino. From the moment the cash disappeared, Detective Pat Laurenzi, with the help of the FBI, worked around the clock to find it. As the story exploded onto the front pages, the entire city was swept up in the hunt. Joey Coyle, meanwhile, shared the money with everyone from his girlfriend to complete strangers to the neighborhood's most notorious mob boss, who allegedly helped launder it. Coyle would live his next week in a drug-fueled whirlwind, planning his future as a rich man even as he grew terrified that he was about to be captured, even killed. Finders Keepers is the remarkable tale of an ordinary man faced with an extraordinary moral dilemma, and the fascinating reactions -- from complicity to concern to betrayal -- of the friends and neighbors to whom he turns. Loaded with intrigue and suspense, this is a gripping new book from a versatile and evocative chronicler of American life.
it all planned. “I’ve been doing some fantasizing of my own about finding $1.2 million . . . ,” wrote Greg Walter. “Who among us hasn’t? Had such a serendipitous event occurred, I’ve daydreamed, I would have quickly stashed most of the dough and headed for the first plane stopping at Key West, Florida. By the time the alarm had been sounded, I would have been in the sea green land of the hundred dollar bill and the cocaine cowboy. A recent trip to this southeasternmost part of the United States
haven, a place to escape all the friendly watching eyes of the neighborhood. It was wild, exciting, and even dangerous. Once older bullies had knocked him around and hung him by his thumbs. So long as you had your friends to help you down and you could come back every night to your mom and dad, your house, your block, the world outside was mostly a thrill. But now it just loomed. Unlike his old friends, Joey had not outgrown those years. The death of his father, the decline of the shipyards, his
dream had more to do with pride, with status. Joey’s life of addiction for the past year had been a humiliating ordeal of abject dependency, of scrounging for a few more dollars to pay off the dealer, of begging for credit when his wallet was empty and ducking the creditors when bills came due, of falling further and further behind . . . Joey’s million would admit him to the other side of the business. He would be the man with all the money and all the drugs. Users would come to him. Joey would
sternly keeping the anxious crowd of neighbors and reporters at bay. Word was out that the Philadelphia police had found the missing Purolator million, but from the bustle of activity in and around the Masis’ house the case hardly seemed closed. None of the officers on the scene would comment. Late in the evening the cameras caught a startled Carl Masi, wearing a leather jacket, being led out the front door to a police car. Then a team of detectives emerged carrying green trash bags. It was
inside he was reeling. The problem seemed overwhelming. He would have to find a way of breaking the hundreds into smaller bills. But how? Where? Joey knew he needed help. And the man who first came to mind was his friend Carl Masi. 5 Carl Masi had been a fighter once. After World War II he had boxed as a lightweight for a few years before settling back in Philadelphia as a typesetter. At fifty-four he was still a muscular man with square features and curly gray hair. But Masi’s heart was