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Austrian police puzzled by fortune found floating in Danube

A cash fortune worth tens of thousands of euros has been found floating in the Danube River in Vienna. Police have been trying to determine who the money belongs to and whether or not it is connected to a crime.

Austrian police are trying to figure out how at least 100,000 euros ($110,000) wound up floating in the Danube River, a police spokesman announced on Monday.

"The money is real. We don't know exactly where it came from, but we suspect it is proceeds from a crime," police spokesman Patrick Maierhofer told the news agency Agence France-Presse.

So far, investigators have not found evidence of any criminal act in the area where such a sum of money could have been lost.

Authorities have been drying out numerous 500- and 100-euro banknotes after two boys discovered the fortune on Saturday.

Upon seeing the floating notes, one of the boys stripped down and jumped in the river to collect the cash, according to the "Oesterreich" newspaper. Bystanders believed the boy was attempting to commit suicide and called the police.

Police arrived as the boy was fishing out the money. Authorities took over and gathered the rest of the banknotes, but the boys are trying to claim a share.

"The boy said he wanted to bring it to the police, but the question is whether the police found it or the boy," the police spokesman said.

In Austria, anyone who finds cash and brings it to the police may claim 5-10 percent of the sum as a finder's fee. They also have the right to receive the whole amount if the rightful owner of the money cannot be found within a year.

rs/cmk (AFP, Reuters)

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