PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Have you ever lost your wallet or purse?
Was it returned? Have you ever found a wallet? Did you try to find the owner?
Recent studies suggest depending on where you live in the world may determine whether you are and how honest you are.
KD investigator Marty Griffin dropped a whole bunch of wallets all over our region to find out how honest Pittsburghers really are.
The results might not be what you expect.
From the suburbs to the city, at storefronts on walkways, you name it and KDKA dropped a wallet there.
Each wallet had $50 in cash and a fake business card with a cell phone number.
The first stop: Target on McKnight Road.
We dropped the wallet on the ground. While we watched, the first person who picked it up, Cheryl Heisey called the number immediately.
“Well there was cash in it,” she said. “I hated to leave it with somebody to come back and pick up.”
When it was pointed out that Heisey didn’t hesitate, she said, “No, I looked and there was a number in there. I assumed it was the owner.”
After that, we dropped one at Whole Foods in Wexford.
Within seconds of dropping the wallet, a store employee picked it up and took it the front desk where it was returned immediately.
Then we tested out the Butler County Courthouse.
This time a judge’s clerk picked it up and handed it to the judge. They immediately walked inside and passed it off to Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Stiles.
“You called me immediately, proving your honesty,” Griffin said to Stiles.
Three honest people proved themselves in this case.
“Not our money, we have to get it back to the rightful owner,” Stiles said. He says he’s always believed in being completely honest all the time.
The fourth stop was in the heart of East Liberty on Penn Avenue. Griffin couldn’t get 10 steps away before Todd Levine was yelling and pointing to the wallet.
“I didn’t want anybody to pick your wallet up,” he said.
Stop No. 5 was downtown. Twice when we dropped the wallet, honest strangers immediately returned it both times.
Halfway through our test, everyone came out honest. However, that’s not normal. In a worldwide honesty test conducted the same way, the most honest city – Helsinki, Finland – had a less-than-perfect score with 11 out of 12 wallets being returned.
The most dishonest cities including Madrid, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal, had only two out of 12 and one out of 12 wallets returned, respectively.
“Pittsburgh for example, have very common values,” said Dr. Paul Friday.
Friday says there are lots of reasons why people are honest or dishonest, but he believes Pittsburghers have a certain hometown advantage.
“If you want to see a pocket of honesty, welcome to Southwest Pa.,” he says, “because we’re that kind of people.”
It’s hard to argue with him. On the campus of Washington and Jefferson University, we placed the wallet on a sidewalk. Student Jessica Nickerson missed a class and walked all the way across campus to turn it into Campus Police.
When asked why be that honest, Nickerson said, “Well, pay it forward and good things will happen to you in the long run.”
We got the same results again when we dropped a wallet at a truck stop in Eighty Four and again in Beaver.
All in all, we dropped 12 wallets and 12 wallets were returned.