Real-Life Rags to Riches: Homeless Man Max Melitzer Learns He’s Rich
A homeless Utah man will never have to sleep on the street again after learning that he stands to inherit a large amount of money. The Associated Press and the Deseret News report that David Melitzer, who is in his 60s, was located by private investigator David Lundberg yesterday and informed of his literal change of fortune.
It turns out that Melitzer’s brother, who passed away from cancer last year, had left him a “significant” amount in his will.
“He’ll no longer be living on the street or in abandoned storage sheds,” Lundberg told the AP. “He’ll be able to have a normal life, and be able to have a home, provide for himself, and purchase clothing, food and health care.”
But finding Melitzer was no easy task. Lundberg, who was hired by the New York law firm representing the deceased brother’s family, has been searching for him since last year. Melitzer has been living rough for years, drifting between Utah cities and becoming a well-known face among shelters and rescue missions.
It was in just such a location– the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake– that the trail finally warmed up for Lundberg. Manager Don Hill said that Melitzer often stayed there, and a listener of a local radio station gave the investigator a tip that led him to Pioneer Park.
“Someone called today (Saturday) and said they saw him at Pioneer Park,” Lundberg told the AP. “I thought it was another crazy tip, but sure enough, there he was.”
Lundberg found Melitzer pushing a shopping cart loaded with his belongings in the park. The investigator called Melitzer’s relatives in New York and handed him the phone.
“I think he was happy to be finally able to connect with his family in New York,” Lundberg told the Deseret News.
Melitzer was naturally thrilled to learn about his inheritance, even though Lundberg didn’t tell him how much he would get.
The timing couldn’t have been better.
“He was beat up. His money was taken. His watch was taken. He’s been in kind of a surly element the last couple of years,” Lundberg explained.
Lundberg took Melitzer to an undisclosed safe location where he will remain until his family arrives from New York. “I want to make sure we get him back to New York,” Lundberg told the Deseret News. “Get him in a situation where he has a decent place to live, food, pay his medical costs. He can get on with his life and enjoy himself for a change.”
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