Richmond mom reunited with family heirlooms, thanks to dumpster diver Earl

If the old adage of “what goes around, comes around” has even a modicum of truth to it, Richmond’s Earl Clapp is surely on course to win the lottery someday soon.

As reported earlier this year, and last week, in the Richmond News, retired police officer Clapp’s pre-dawn routine involves raking through dumpsters in the city for discarded treasures.

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The vast majority of his finds are cleaned up and donated to charities and the homeless community.

However, one of his more recent discoveries – four big garbage bags – surprised the heck out of Clapp and rendered the bags’ owner speechless.

“I found four (bags) thrown away in a dumpster and started going through them,” Clapp told the News.

“One of them was actual garbage, but the other three were full of very expensive items, such as purses, an iPad, a Macbook Air, some personal stuff and flashdrives.

“The iPad wasn’t locked up, fortunately, and I found some contact details on it. I thought, ‘this stuff can’t be garbage,’ so I contacted the lady.”

Turns out, the bags were not garbage after all and were thrown out by mistake, said Clapp, who said the most productive time for him to check the dumpsters is a Sunday night and Monday morning as “people tend to do clean outs on the weekend.”

“The flashdrive contained pictures of her daughter’s first year and her first birthday.

“There was also family heirlooms in there. She had been looking all over the place for the bags for days.

“She was beside herself. She came straight out and picked up the stuff.”

After thanking Clapp profusely, the woman told him how her mom gives back by helping with the homeless community.

“I said to her, ‘here’s a case of where your mom’s karma came back to help you,’” added Clapp.

“I believe in payback and it seems we have another convert out there as (the bag owner) will be out helping people now.

“That’s why I do it. I’m proud of that. It’s all about changing people out there.”

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© Richmond News

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