Wallet with badge found 20 years later in York County lake

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YORK TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A wallet with a badge belonging to a former York County correctional officer discovered more than 20 years after it was lost in a lake.

It's all because Dennis Benkert of West Manchester Township was searching for treasure in Lake Redman. He figured it was a good place to search because of an ongoing construction project.

Benkert said, "I took the advantage of going down there while the water was low and going around the docks."

Benkert hunts for treasure as a hobby. He's found military ID tags, graduation rings and even teeth. But that day at Lake Redman in York Township he found a different kind of treasure.

Using a metal detector, he discovered the wallet with the badge pinned to it buried underneath two inches of mud.

Through Facebook, Benkert's friend was able to track down the owner of the wallet, 49-year-old Shawn Eakins.

Benkert realized he had a connection to Eakins.

"I did call my brother up to try to find out if he knew who he was and he said yeah I worked with Shawn. He said what's his badge number? I said 320 - my brother's was 310, so they did work together," Benkert said.

Eakins believes he lost the wallet while paddle boating with his wife.

Eakins said, "Maybe an hour or so after we left the lake I realized I lost it and I figured it fell into the lake somewhere."

His old credit cards, social security card and even an old Hollywood Video Store card were still in the wallet. But the piece Eakins missed the most was his badge.

"I was upset because I was a fairly new correctional officer so it had my badge, my wallet, and that's the thing that meant the most to me in it," Eakins said.

Now, 21 years later, Eakins said his life has definitely changed.

"Well at the time my son was three years old, he's now 24 years old, I didn't have my daughter Addison and she's now 14 years old. My wife and I just celebrated our 24th anniversary," Eakins said.

Benkert said it's moments like this that keep him hunting for treasure.

"It's fulfilling to me to make somebody else happy," he said.

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