Ok...doing the right thing in a country plagued by illegal activities is a daunting task. Monday morning, I made my way to the bank to see if they could look up the identity of the person who belonged to the wallet I found. I figured they could call her, give her my number and we can call it a day--she gets her money and wallet and I get a warm fuzzy.
But no. Walking into the bank I pull a my ticket number (240) and notice they are serving number 190!!!! So, I take a seat (by the way--completely amazed that there are seats as it is next to impossible to sit ANYWHERE in Venice). I notice that people are doing crossword puzzles, etc. so I imagine they have gone through this before. I watch the different tellers and their demeanor. I have chosen the one I would like to get, because he seems friendly and helpful to everyone. I really hope I dont get this woman who has a permanent scowl on her face.
It didnt take as long as I thought--about 45 minutes later, my number is called and lucky me, I get the meany. With my heart racing (expecting to get yelled at just like if I was at the grocery store), I tell her I dont speak much Italian but I found this wallet and would like her to help me return it. Heavy sigh.....she puts in the account number and it clearly comes up on the screen but she informs me that without written approval from the owner, she is not able to contact her. In theory, this makes sense, but under the circumstances, I think this woman would be OK with a random call from her bank. But no, I am told to go to the police.
Ok....two people have now told me to go to the police now. Against every grain in my body, I walk over to one of the offices. This guy talks to me through a glass window and I tell him my story (in Italian with my standard clause of not speaking much) and he asks me if I have an appointment?! Why on Gods green earth would I have an appointment to go to the police department? What a moron. This time it is me who does the heavy sigh. He refuses to speak to me in English which angers me because I am certain that the police have to know English for their job. After a few 'no capito' from me, he calls someone else over who opens the door, we repeat the above conversation and he asks me if it is my wallet? 'Are you listening to me', is what I am thinking but, of course, it is the police so I bite my tongue. I go to reach inside the wallet to show the ATM card that is in there to help explain and I thought he was going to backhand me--apparently, I was touching the evidence and this is a no-no. Finally, he asks for my ID and I give him my passport and show him the VISA so he knows that I live here. He tells me to sit over there and wait.
So, as I am sitting, I am thinking this isnt good. This guy has my passport and the wallet and I am about to get arrested for something and no one is ever going to hear from me again! But after about 10 minutes he comes out, asks me where I found the wallet and then disappears again. 5 minutes later he comes back with 2 pieces of paper and he wants me to sign them.
I ask him what they are and he tells me they are are in Italian---yeah, no s**t, I can see that! (I know as you read these stories, you guys are thinking I am making this up, but I really am not that creative!) So, anyway, I browse the papers and they are 2 of the same listing the contents of the wallet and something to the effect that by verbal documentation, I gave him the wallet, blah blah blah. He asks me why I have a US passport when I was born in Germany and I figured this was the end of me. But I managed to get him to understand and he seemed satisfied. He has no interest in my VISA and thinks I am tourist who will soon be out of his hair.
I sign the papers, he signs the papers, I get one, he gets one and I ask if he wants my number or something. With a big smile, he says "No, why would I....I will take care of this". So, I am pretty darn sure that Mr. Policeman and his buddies had a nice dinner or drinks last night with this girls 140 euros.
No returned wallet/money for her and no warm fuzzy for me. Oh well..next time I find a wallet, I am just going to leave it there and let the next person deal with it!