Homeless Man Makes More Than $20,000 Re-Selling Discarded MetroCards

A Dollar Here And A Dollar There Have All Added Up For John Jones

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A straphanger in the Bronx claims that other riders’ discarded MetroCards are his own personal property.

CBS2’s Ann Mercogliano spoke with John Jones about how he is using the cards to make cash. Jones said that he regularly finds MetroCards with balances and that he has made a practice of re-selling them.

“Half of this stack was found in the past two days, over 100 cards and each card in this stack has a dollar or more on it,” he said Tuesday.

Jones is homeless and the cards provide him with a way to make some quick cash. He has made more than $20,000.

Many riders cast cards aside if they think that they have a zero balance, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recommends that riders refill their cards as their balances get low.

One rider couldn’t get a reading when he swiped his card the first time and was about to throw it away.

“I probably would have thrown it away and there would have been money in it…four-fifty,” said William Cedeno of Ozone Park.

The MTA would not comment on Jones’ money-making operation but did say that, “The sale of fare media is prohibited by anyone except for employees … or others who are given written permission. We encourage customers to refill their MetroCards to get maximum value.”

Jones said that he has been arrested several times for selling the cards, but that he doesn’t plan on stopping.

The MTA said that last year there was $52 million in leftover, unused MetroCards.

What do you think, should Jones be able to keep selling the used cards, and would you buy one? Let us know in our comments section…

  • S Jobs way

    The system is a poor design. The cards could have a bank account associated with the card so that the user could swipe the card and hit “refund” to move cash back to the account.

  • Gerry

    Personally, I like his attitude and perseverance using discarded items to help himself out of a poor situation. A city with an actual HEART would leave his hard working butt alone and let him try to survive!

    • Marilyn Banner

      Agreed. Who is he hurting?

      • DRLJR

        You have to understand the nature of Progressivism. The cards are the property of State and only the State can has the authority to use the cards. This is the inverse of the ideas upon which this country was founded,

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  • Steven Senior

    MTA counts on recouping that money – so the heck with them – go man go!

  • Bman

    Good for you man! Fck the MTA… THey are a bunch of theives themselves…

  • Garrett

    who lives in New York anymore…? that city is soooo early 2000’s and out of style!

  • Jose M. Pulido

    “Finders keepers.” The man should be congratulated and helped for trying to make a living with discarded Metro Cards even though he is homeless.

  • mike

    Claim SALVAGE RIGHTS!!! if it’s thrown away and you find it IT’S YOURS!!!

  • Navajo

    I belive in one mans trash is another mans tresure..I worked at a recycling center during the summers and I found some awsome finds. I brought them home and resold them from my front yard.Wicker funiture.Mousquito magnets,a copper bird bath…it paid off my bills that month..

    • malasangre

      you don’t mean you stole them did you. cause it kind of sounds like that

      • theclarkster

        Hey, what’s the old saying, “finders keepers” End of story!

  • too tomato

    Why doesn’t the MTA buy back the cards if they don’t want them resold? Oh wait!!! They’d have to give back $52 million!!!

  • New Yorker

    One persons discards are another person’s treasure – law of the land! More power to him for finding a way to live.


    Since the cards were discarded he has the right and privilege to collect and sell them. There is no difference in his doing this and someone collecting cans and bottles and recycling them. All he is doing is recycling the cards. The cards are simply a carrier of money.

    • Jason

      There is no right to sell them. That right belgons, exclusively, to the MTA. If he found cards and used them for his personal benefit, that would be fine, but by selling them, he, and the purchaser of the found card, are guilty of theft of services.

      • DRLJR

        I would disagree. Once they were discarded and he found them the money on them belonged to him. And the implication is that he exchanged them for their cash value. While the Metro can control who sells new cards once they are tossed they are the property of whoever finds them.

      • the clarkster

        Ahh “Jason”, don’t worry about it. I’m sure the MTA can afford it!! After all, the MTA is surely charging us riders enough, and believe me I know.

  • RoyAllen

    The MTA made 52 million on unused,or discarded Metro Cards,but they arrest this creative,homeless person, for trying to make a few bucks….where does the insanity stop

  • Tired of Foolishness

    This guy is not the one who is doing anything wrong, IT’S THE MTA. Why are cards not sold to equal the fare. They are getting over like the fat rats that they are “$52 million in lef over unused cards!!” That is outrageous! MTA is the criminal not this man.

    • AnnDisaster


  • bullett

    Did he file a tax return?

    • ME

      It never said that he made the 20k in a single year. There are plenty of people that don’t bring in enough per year to require filing a tax return. For all we know it may have taken many years to make 20k reselling the cards.

    • martin

      lol, poor homeless man cant get a break hah? I think its cool for him to be able to live somehow, but you have a rgeat point! Well, did he? Uncle Sam wants his share…

      • phantom789

        ‘Homeless’ means no address. That’s good enough excuse.


    Why don’t you get a 9-5 like the rest of us. Pro. is too lazy to get up in the morning. And clip those nast long dirty fingernails. UGGGGGGG

    • Lisa

      Humping it all day looking for cards and reselling them doesn’t sound lazy to me. He’s entrepreneurial and has found a creative way to make a living. Go back to your desk you rude sheep!

  • pablo

    if your card can’t read from the swiper, just put it in the vending machine. it always work for me. some people are dumb out there to throw it away. But hey he made money out of it. good for him.

  • Winston Smith

    OK, if you find a dollar bill on the ground ya gotta give it “back” to the bank cause “they’re the only ones supposed to pass out money”? Kudos, guy!

  • King Zohan

    Whats up with homies nails, sweet jesus, nail clipper is less than $20k “brah”

    • jack

      Aaahhh….I just saw that,At least they are groomed.Maybe they’re a weopon.Surprised NYPD hasn’t charged him for those things.

  • Mike

    He’s not doing anything illegal. They should leave him alone. I don’t know why he’s still homeless if he has $20K. He could rent a studio apartment, and continue selling the cards to pay for rent, food, clothes, utilities, etc. The governement should be glad that he’s not asking for section 8 or food stamps. He’s only trying to make an honest living. It reminds me of the stories that you read about kids getting tickets for selling lemonade. Why does the governement try to discourage people from working?

    • the bandid

      good question Mike, but i don’t have an answer

      • rocky


        • Lexy

          rocky! you are so ignorant smh

          • rocky

            Truth must hurt

      • rocky


    • malasangre

      a lot of homeless WANT to be off the grid. when you Have to keep up with things it gets to be too much for some

    • DRLJR

      The answer to your final question is control. The Progressive/Marxist who we keep electing want to control every aspect of our lives. They believe they can improve people by telling everyone exactly what a person can and can not do. Look at the history of Progressivism as well as what they did and actually stand for. Look at what Prohibition created – that was the Progressive/Marxists first attempt at total control. And remember that the current philosophy goes all the way back the French Revolution and the terror it wrought.

  • Leethal

    Top marks to this guy. He saw a market in this “throw away society”, and chose to exploit it.

  • goblin

    Is he paying taxes on this income like everyone else?

  • Joe Schmo

    Gov’t doesn’t like civilians “stealing” “their” money. Why would JJ be stupid enough to proclaim such a thing? No way they find out he made $20k. Even with multiple arrests….Anyway, good for him. Rather see him get a few extra $$ than the fat cat$ at the MTA, IRS, or any other crooked govt entity.

  • Raymond Leslie

    We throw away enough food everyday to feed the world. What’s the big deal?

    • doc in NJ


  • Mayor Koch's Tomb 4 sale

    I hate the Metrocard ,bring back tokens ,tokens when they fault
    don’t require mailing yo’ card to Crooklyn and waiting weeks for a new
    replacement card. No wonder the MTA has 52 million dollars unused
    by Metrocard users. Stinks.
    Put Mayor Koch’s face on the Tokens ,his ego is still not satisfied or
    his clone Rudy Tooty Giuliani..

  • Bob

    Huh? You don’t want the money left on it – give it to some one who could use it. Don’t throw it anywhere.

  • Roger Cotton

    They won’t even let a poor homeless guy do what it takes to stay alive. It probably takes a lot of time and effort to collect all those cards just so he can eat. The lousy government should stay off his a$$! Next, the IRS will be looking for him to collect taxes from this poor soul…gees!

  • Marguerite Allard

    Throw away your MetroCard- don’t throw it on the ground.

    • malasangre

      stingy wench

    • NYC

      Why? When someone can use it. You’re wicked. Just nasty.

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