This Time the Grinch Didn’t Steal Christmas

A Lehigh Acres man says his Christmas will be a lot merrier thanks to some quick thinking Lee County deputies.

It all unfolded at the Lee County Justice Center. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Criminal Investigations Unit (CCIU) responded to a possible Grand Theft. Upon arrival, it was determined that while waiting in line to pay a fine, Greg Cooke accidently dropped an envelope containing $400.00 in cash. Cooke did not realize he dropped the money and continued with his business. Moments later, Cooke realized he lost his cash and went to the security office to report his loss. The security office contacted the Bailiffs Division who in turn contacted CCIU.

Sergeant Kevin Karlsen responded and reviewed the security tape. Through good police work, he was able to pin down a suspect. Sergeant Karlsen called the suspect, who admitted to finding the envelope, but did not know what to do with it. Sergeant Karlsen met the suspect in Bonita Springs and retrieved the envelope.

Sergeant Karlsen then contacted Cooke and made arrangements to meet him at the Racetrac Gas Station at Ortiz Avenue and State Road 82. When Sergeant Karlsen handed Cooke the envelope, Cooke thanked him then asked “is it okay if I give you a hug?” Not fully grasping what Cooke had just asked, Sergeant Karlsen replied, “Sir?” Cooke then asked again, “can I hug you?” With a smile on his face, Sergeant Karlsen said, “Absolutely.” After Cooke delivered his hug, he stated “with all this negative nonsense going around about police officers, I just wanted you to know I think it’s ridiculous. You guys went above and beyond and here I stand with my money back in my hand. I can never thank all of you enough for the job you do.” With a smile still on his face, Sergeant Karlsen told Cooke, “Sir, I don’t think you will ever be able to understand how thankful I am for what you just said and did. Your words and actions will forever leave a mark on me.”

Greg Cooke is happy to say that the money he thought was lost can now be used to purchase Christmas gifts for family and friends; all made possible with a little help from his friends at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

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