Anonymous donor leaves San Francisco fans searching for hidden cash


By Laura Rena Murray

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Some San Francisco-area residents are flush with cash, thanks to an anonymous donor who has been hiding envelopes full of money in secret spots around the city.

The donor has been conducting the Northern California treasure hunt by posting clues to a Twitter account called HiddenCash, sending followers to uncover envelopes filled with about $100 taped behind stop signs, bulldozers, fire hydrants and dumpsters.

By late Wednesday, more than 190,000 people were following the Twitter account.

The donor describes the five-day-old game as way to give back to society after making millions in the city's real estate market.

"I want the spotlight on what I'm doing and trying to do," he told CNN. "I have no plans to stop anytime soon. I'm planning to continue this indefinitely into the future." 

The donor has encouraged winners to tweet photos of their winnings. So far, the experiment has appeared to be a success.

A local television web producer treated co-workers to pizza, while another donated the cash to San Francisco's St. Anne's church and another to the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, according to postings on Twitter.

Deidre Washington, 35, of Oakland, said in a phone interview that she and her 14-year-old daughter used a Twitter clue to hunt down an envelope taped to a parking meter in San Francisco's Mission district with $60 inside.

Washington said she split the contents with several homeless people at a camp nearby. "We're always trying to give back," she said.

The pair then doubled their winnings after following a second tweet to another $60 envelope at Burger King.

"We split it - she's using it for the summer and I got some gas," Washington said of herself and her daughter. 

"‪Hiddencash is NOT instead of charity," the donor tweeted on Monday. "We support many charities too. This is for fun."

Though the game began in San Francisco, envelopes have begun appearing in Oakland and San Jose.

Alex Doxie found the first envelope in San Jose on Wednesday - $120 attached to a fire hydrant, according to a local media report.

"I’m going to take my wife out to dinner,” he told local news station KTVU.

The donor does not plan to keep the game confined to northern California, saying on Twitter that Los Angeles residents will soon get a chance to treasure hunt their own envelopes of cash.

(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere and Ken Wills)