Finder of $1,000 'lucky' penny reveals how he found the rare coin

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — John Haley and his fiancée had been searching for Ally Bank's lucky pennies since the scavenger hunt started.

Haley was searching for a penny in Freedom Park about two weeks ago when his fiancée called to tell him that she saw a hint about the location of one of the pennies on Ally Bank's Twitter account. Haley said the picture hinted at Cabo Fish Taco, a popular restaurant in NoDa.

Haley made it to the restaurant within 20 minutes, just in time to pick up the penny.

"(I) just came across the street, kind of saw it gleaming like a Super Mario coin, so I came across, grabbed it and called her up,” Haley said. “Naturally she didn't believe me at first, so I had to send her a thousand pictures to make sure it was real."

Haley said the penny was hidden in a tiny groove of the bench outside the restaurant. He went on the company's website and entered the coin's code so he could win $1,000.

"The contest doesn't officially end until the end of the year, so that's when they will start the verification process, make sure everyone is qualified. That's when the big check will come,” Haley said.

He said he already has big plans for the money. He's planning to get married in June.

“This $1,000 comes at a great time. We are going to put it towards our honeymoon," he said.

Haley found the fifth penny in Charlotte. Ally Bank said there are still four pennies hidden across the Queen City. The other pennies were found at Romare Bearden Park, the Charlotte Convention Center, near Discovery Place and outside Bakersfield in Dilworth.

Ally Bank wants to demonstrate the value of the penny and social media.

The lucky pennies are copper-color like real pennies, but feature the Detroit-based bank's logo instead of Abraham Lincoln's head. The flip side of the coin lists its value at 100,000 cents.

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