updated 7/25/2006 9:45:59 AM ET 2006-07-25T13:45:59

A homeless man who returned $21,000 worth of saving bonds he found in a trash bin is finding out how much honesty can pay off.

Charles Moore, 59, had been searching for returnable bottles last week when he came across the 31 U.S. savings bonds. He turned them in to a homeless shelter, where a staff member tracked down the family of the man who had owned them.

For his good deed, the bond owner’s son gave Moore $100, but residents around Michigan and in other states decided his action merited a more generous reward.

So far, Moore has received over $4,000.

One man sent him eight trash bags full of returnable bottles and a bowl of coins. Three others gave a combined $2,500, and two businessmen from Troy donated $1,200, a shopping spree and a lead on a job.

“I was thankful for it,” said Moore, who had lost his roofing job in Ohio and moved back to Michigan but couldn’t find work.

Moore said he plans to use the money to find an apartment.

David C. Smith, of Albuquerque, N.M., gave Moore $1,000. Smith said he and his fiancée wouldn’t have thought twice about what to do if the bonds had belonged to them.

“We would have given him the whole amount, period,” Smith said. “No questions asked.”

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