SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS 13) — If you drop something in the American River, you probably don’t expect to get it back.
One man is turning peoples’ luck around, diving into the river himself to retrieve items that were dropped months, sometimes years ago.
At the bottom of the river, Karl Bly finds more than sand and rocks.
“It’s a little bit of karma points I guess. But it’s points in the bank,” Bly said.
He spots wallets, phones, IDs and more lost items the original owners never expect to see again.
“I have no need for any of this stuff, you know, for keeping it, so if it has a name on a paddle or something I will look up the name, what the heck,” Bly said.
Bly uses Facebook and the power of digital “shares” to find those people. And occasionally, he comes across something for himself.
“Always good to find the beer on the river, love finding the beers!” Bly said.
But for the most part, he’s bringing unexpected joy to people like Sherry Martinez.
“I’m not going to risk my life for my phone and my ID,” Martinez said.
She dropped those and more in the American River last month. At the time, she had no clue how important her phone would become.
“My favorite cousin passed away and it was really too soon, he was only 31,” Martinez said.
He passed away last week. On the phone she dropped was the only copy of videos and photos taken while on vacation with him.
“At the time I didn’t realize how precious they would be and now it’s just like one of those memories where only I know the tale because I was there and I was filming it,” Martinez said.
Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, she might be able to get it all back.
Bly said he does it to make people smile.
“That’s more of the adventure is finding the person that lost it rather than finding the item,” Bly said.
What became trash in the river after some bad luck, is often still a treasure for the person who lost it.
“One time I found a wallet it had a private note from I assume a lover, and the person, that’s what they wanted back most was the note,” Bly said.
Bly said he’s been diving and discovering since he was a child, and now at 52, He has no plans to slow down.
“He really has a big heart for him to go out of his way and find people and not charge,” Martinez said.
CBS13 did ask Karl about his strangest discovery, he said it was a grill. Not the one you cook with, the one you put on your teeth. He’s still looking for the owner by the way.