A man and his 5-year-old son turned into amateur detectives when they found a mucked-up camera at the bottom of a small stream while chasing snakes in the Adirondacks last month and returned it to the owner who had lost it three years ago.
John Noerr, 39, discovered that the digital camera's memory card was still intact with 581 photos on it that could be used as clues to hunt down the camera's owner.
"Opening the card was fascinating," Noerr told ABC News. "The very first picture, I imagined that it was the first picture that he took. All the way to the last picture. That was of rushing water."
One photo was of a purple door; another showed a woman in front of a house numbered 327; and another showed a street sign reading 3rd Street. He deduced that the photos were taken in New York City, and turned to Google Streetview to get to the bottom of it.
“I toured every 3rd Street in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan," Mr Noerr told the Herald Sun, “Then I saw a sign for that bagel shop, took a left and there it was, that purple door.”
“There were a lot of dead ends I followed,” he told the Post-Star.
The door existed in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn and, after finding the house numbered 327, he found the building's owner using tax records.
According to the Post-Star, he searched the last name on the tax records — Comeau — and found a woman. She turned out to be the sister of Michael Comeau, the camera's owner, and mentioned that he had lost a camera years ago. Noerr then got in touch with him.
"I thought it was a miracle," Comeau told ABC News, "I had wondered what happened to that camera. Is it floating out there somewhere?"
Comeau had been standing on a bridge in 2009 taking pictures when he fumbled and the camera went flying into the water. He told ABC News that there was a photo on the camera that he was particularly glad to get back — one he took of his late mother.
“There was a moment it could have belonged to any number of 7 billion people,” Noerr told the Post-Star, “Then, there was a moment when it belonged to just one.”
Whiskey Discovered Under Floorboards
Bryan Fite, a Missouri resident, uncovered a hidden stash of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/bryan-fite-whiskey-bottles-attic_n_1653864.html" target="_hplink">century-old whiskey</a> bottles underneath the floorboards in his attic. Rare bottles of whiskey have <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204452104577059792477936510.html" target="_hplink">sold</a> for as much as $200,000.
Gold Ingots Found In Bush
Gardeners stumbled across a number of unmarked gold bars, known as "ingots," under a bush while cutting grass in the Swiss of town of Klingnau near the German border. The 10 bars are worth an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/swiss-gardeners-gold-ingots_n_1671689.html" target="_hplink">estimated</a> $126,000.
Wedding Ring Found In Newly Purchased Car
A Sacramento couple <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/wedding-ring-found-in-car_n_1609671.html" target="_hplink">found a 1961 wedding ring</a> between the seats of a car they had just purchased a few months earlier.
Meteorite Found In Park
A California mom <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/brenda-salveson-meteorite_n_1473973.html" target="_hplink">found a meteorite worth </a>more than gold at a local park where she frequently brings her dog and kids.
Original Picasso Print Found In Thrift Store
An unemployed man <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/zachary-bodish-picasso-print-sold_n_1506836.html" target="_hplink">sold an original Picasso print</a> that he found in a thrift store for $7,000.
$150,000 Discovered In Backyard
An unemployed Illinois man <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/unemployed-illinois-man-f_n_943167.html" target="_hplink">found duffle bags full of cash </a>totaling $150,000 in his backyard.
Engagement Ring Fished Out Of Toilet
A man got down on his knees for a second time after he found his <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/couple-finds-engagement-ring-toilet-36-years-154700561.html" target="_hplink">wife's engagement ring</a> in a toilet 36 years after she had lost it.
$40,000 In Cash Found In Attic
After a family in Salt Lake City found <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/20/family-finds_n_864725.html" target="_hplink">$40,000 in cash </a>in the attic of their recently-purchased home, they returned the money to its rightful owner.
Diamond Ring Recovered From Sewer
A worker in Idaho returned a diamond ring to its rightful owner after finding the treasure <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/idaho-woman-mechelle-reig_n_1422529.html" target="_hplink">in a sewer</a>. The owner thought she had lost it forever when she accidentally flushed it down the toilet.
Salvador Dali Etching Found At Goodwill
Federal Way Quality Control Officer Shea Munroe stumbled upon an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/salvador-dali-etching-fou_n_2164427.html" target="_hplink">etching by famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali at a Goodwill</a> in Tacoma, Wash. The thrift store find would go on to sell for $21,005 in an online auction.
$11,000 Found In A Purse At Marshalls
Cheryl Gavazzi was shopping at Marshalls in Beverly, Mass. when a purse caught her eye. But what was inside the purse -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/cheryl-gavazzi-returns-cash-found-in-handbag_n_2164579.html?utm_hp_ref=money" target="_hplink">$11,000 in cash</a> -- is what really got her attention. She would hand over the bag to the police, who found the original owner who said the money was being used to build a church in Guatemala.
Book With $20,000 Hidden In The Pages
How's this for a page turner: A Wellesley, Mass. man found $20,000 in cash hidden in the pages of a book he discovered at a used book-swap. The man has asked to remain anonymous but said anyone with info on the books rightful owner could contact him at <a href="Ipatimga2005@comcast.net" target="_hplink">Ipatimga2005@comcast.net</a>.
8 Year Old Finds $63,000 Whale Vomit
An 8-year-old boy named Charlie Naysmith made a strange -- and pricey -- discovery when walking along the Hengistbury Head beach in Great Britain. Thinking he'd stumbled upon a yellow rock, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/charlie-naysmith-whale-vomit_n_1837241.html" target="_hplink">Naysmith had actually found ambergris</a>, a substance barfed or pooped up by sperm whales. The piece is estimated to be worth upwards of $63,000.
A Treasure Trove Of Baseball Cards In An Ohio Attic
Karl Kissner of Toledo, Ohio found a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/honus-wagner-ty-cobb-baseball-cards_n_1735636.html" target="_hplink">collection of baseball cards in his grandfather's attic</a> that fetched a tremendous sum. The 37 baseball cards featuring the likes of Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner fetched $566,132 during bidding.