MILPITAS — It turns out that one person’s junk is indeed someone else’s treasure.
A South Bay recycling firm is looking for a woman who, in early April, dropped off boxes of electronics that she had cleaned out from her house after her husband died. About two weeks later, the firm, Clean Bay Area, discovered inside one of the boxes a rare find: a vintage Apple I, one of only about 200 first-generation desktop computers put together by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne in 1976.
The recycling firm sold the Apple I this month for $200,000 to a private collection, Vice President Victor Gichun said. And now, because company policy is to split proceeds 50-50 with the donor, he’s looking for the mystery woman who refused to get a receipt or leave her name.
“We are looking for her to give her $100,000,” Gichun said.
“She said, ‘I want to get rid of this stuff and clean up my garage,’ ” Gichun said. “I said, ‘Do you need a tax receipt?’ and she said, ‘No, I don’t need anything.’ ”
The company had a backup of donations, and didn’t immediately go through her boxes. He feels badly because the woman said her husband had died a couple of months earlier. Gichun’s own mother died at age 54, and he remembers how his father suffered afterward.
Maybe, Gichun said, having some extra cash might help the woman.
Clean Bay Area recycles computers, lab equipment, test equipment and semiconductors. It deals mostly with businesses, but about five times a week individuals stop by with donations. The company doesn’t pick up from individual donors.
“I remember her,” Gichun said.
He said she was driving an SUV. He’s not divulging any other descriptive information about the woman or her car. In the future, he said, he’ll be more insistent about getting donors’ contact information.
To get her $100,000 check, the mystery woman just needs to show up at the company’s warehouse at 1310 Piper Drive in Milpitas.
“To prove who she is,” Gichun said, “I just need to look at her.”