Rags to riches: Homeless man is a rich heir
A private investigator says he has tracked down a homeless Utah man and delivered some good news: He's inherited a lot of money.
David Lundberg said he found Max Melitzer pushing a shopping cart filled with personal possessions in a Salt Lake City park Saturday afternoon.
Lundberg declined to disclose how much money Melitzer will be receiving, but said the man's brother who died of cancer last year left him a "significant" amount in his will.
"He'll no longer be living on the street or in abandoned storage sheds," he told The Associated Press. "He'll be able to have a normal life, and be able to have a home, provide for himself, and purchase clothing, food and health care."
The story about Lundberg's two-month search for Lundberg has been reported by the Deseret News and KSL of Salt Lake City.
Lundberg said he was hired by the family's New York law firm to locate Melitzer, and some family members plan to meet Melitzer next week in Salt Lake City. He declined to identify them.
Melitzer's family wishes to remain private, and lawyers are deferring questions to Lundberg.
The investigator said he broke the news to Melitzer while they were sitting on a bench at Pioneer Park. While Lundberg said he didn't tell Melitzer how much money he was inheriting, the man was excited.
"He's still in shock. This came out of nowhere," Lundberg said. "He's a really mellow guy in his 60s, very sweet and more articulate than I thought for a man in his position."
Melitzer has been homeless for years and last had mail correspondence with his family in September. But when family members gave him a number to phone, he never called.
Don Hill, house manager at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, told Lundberg on Friday that he had seen Melitzer near the facility two days earlier.
Hill said he has known the homeless man for four years, and Melitzer stayed at places like the Rescue Mission when he's not roaming between Salt Lake City and Ogden.
"During the summer, I'd imagine, once in a while he'll stay out nights - outside," Hill told the Deseret News.
Earlier this month, a police officer found Melitzer sleeping in a car in an Ogden salvage yard.
Lundberg said Melitzer was taken Saturday to an undisclosed location in Salt Lake City and doesn't want to talk to the media right now. But Lundberg said he would talk to family members about possibly holding a news conference next week.
The investigator said he found Melitzer with the help of a tip. He received about 60 or 70 such calls after news about his search went out Friday.
"Someone called today (Saturday) and said they saw him at Pioneer Park. I thought it was another crazy tip, but sure enough, there he was," Lundberg said.
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