'William Shatner was here:' Star's wallet returned after accidentally left at California fruit stand

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Thursday, July 28, 2022
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William Shatner accidentally leaves his wallet at Gilroy fruit stand and police department works double-time to return it to the Star Trek legend.

CALIFORNIA -- A recent celebrity sighting has a city in California buzzing about what superstar William Shatner left behind, rather than what he purchased.

The cultural icon lives in Beverly Hills but visited the Fruit Barn on Pacheco Pass Highway in Gilroy last Wednesday.

The fruit stand at 2918 Pacheco Pass Hwy has attracted customers from near and far for decades. However, Shatner's visit last Wednesday has Gary Tognetti, owner of B & T Farms, considering new decor.

"I thought about putting a sign up, 'William Shatner was here,'" Tognetti told ABC7 News.

When staff spotted the wallet in the corn bin on Wednesday, Tognetti said his crew was too young to place Shatner.

Togenetti showed up to work Thursday and saw the wallet. After his initial shock, he texted a friend, Officer Mark Tarasco with the Gilroy Police Department.

Tognetti explained, "I told him, 'Hey, we found this wallet,' and he wasn't quite sure if I was telling a little joke."

"I went and immediately phone called to Gary to try to figure out why Gary, of all people, has Mr. Shatner's wallet in his possession," Officer Tarasco said.

Then came the race to connect with Captain Kirk.

"I told Gary, 'Hey, let me help you out.' I was on my way to work, met up with a few folks there to include Sgt. John Ballard who has some detective experience," Ofc. Tarasco detailed. "And I asked him, 'Hey, how do I get a hold of a celebrity?'"

Tognetti also reached out to a buddy at the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. Tarasco described a friendly competition that ensued, to return the wallet to Shatner.

"It was a race to try to figure out who was gonna contact Mr. Shatner first," Tarasco pointed out. "If you were to call Beverly Hills PD, they would tell you that there was a few different people calling, trying to get a hold of Mr. Shatner in Beverly Hills."

The celebrity is said to have purchased four baskets of chilled cherries and $2 worth of corn.

"He paid for it prior to getting the corn and I'm assuming he had his wallet in his pocket, in his shirt pocket," Tognetti said.

The thought is Shatner may have walked over to the corn bin, bent over to pick some items and lost his wallet in the process.

It took two hours and some teamwork to connect with Shatner's agent about the star's missing wallet. Officer Tarasco said celebrity status aside, the department made sure they did their due diligence.

"We were vague about what we found and we wanted to hear them correlate, you know, not just the wallet, but the contents as well," he told ABC7 News.

Tarasco said the wallet was then sent through FedEx and overnighted back to Shatner in Beverly Hills.

On Tuesday morning, this tweet was posted to Shatner's verified Twitter account: "I would like to thank Gary and Natalie of B&T Farms @TfarmsB for their extreme honesty in returning my lost wallet. They are obviously good citizens. I would also like to thank Officer Mark Tarasco and Sergeant John Ballard from the @GilroyPD My best, Bill"

"When you get to talk about something and laugh about it, and pass on the experience to other people- to include my family, my parents, big fans and all that- it's cool," Ofc. Tarasco said.

As Captain Kirk, Shatner said, "There's no such thing as The Unknown, only things temporarily hidden." In this case, the "thing" temporarily hidden was his wallet.