Service technician Juan Ibarra was doing a certification on a Mercedes-Benz SL550 that Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth 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.”
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,” Ibarra said. “We just wanted to find out who the money belonged to and get it back to them.”
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 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.