Woman Is Reunited With Wallet She Lost 46 Years Ago In Movie Theater

June 9, 2021

A woman was reunited with a wallet she lost 46 years ago after an employee working on remodeling Southern California's historic Majestic Ventura Theater discovered it inside a crawl space.

missing wallet returned 46 years later
Tom and Colleen / Credit: VC Star

Tom Stevens told the Ventura County Star he then went on social media to try to locate the owner based on clues in the wallet, including old photos, a 1973 Grateful Dead concert ticket and a California driver's license for Colleen Distin that expired in 1976.

"Does anyone know Colleen Distin?" he asked on the theater's Facebook page. "While doing some maintenance we have found her wallet. There are a bunch of pictures of people, and they are super cool from that era also. Someone may want them. So if you are, or if you know Colleen, drop us a line and we will have it here for you!"

After thousands of shares, word got back to Colleen Distin, who grew up in Ventura and remains a resident. She said she heard from a lot of people online and received a call about the post.

Distin on Friday went to pick up the red wallet, now brownish with age, and said it was like opening a "time capsule."

missing wallet returned 46 years later

Distin said she lost the wallet in 1975, when she was in her early 20s, at what was then a movie theater.

She said it must have fallen out of her purse, which she had placed on the theater floor. At the time, her wallet held a $200 check and family photos.


"I remember calling the next day when I realized it was gone. They said no one found it, but to call back, which I did," Distin said.

"I'm shaking," Distin told KCAL-TV as she looked through the wallet. It contained poetry and notes, photographs of high school friends, the $5 ticket to a Grateful Dead concert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and photos of Distin's mother, who died several years ago.

"It's really wonderful," Distin said in an emotional voice.

Distin said she was initially reluctant to talk publicly about her experience but she said there was such a positive response that she gave in.

"It says a lot about our society, that people are looking for a human story and something to feel good," she told the Star. "People need to see the gratitude. I think there's so much other negative stuff that I think this is what touched people."

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