German police recover valuable surrealist painting that had been tossed into the airport trash can

Imagine boarding a plane and shortly after takeoff, realizing you'd left a $300,000 painting by Yves Tanguy sitting at the check-in counter. It probably wouldn't be a carefree flight. That's what happened to a businessman on a flight from Germany to Israel. As soon as he arrived in Tel Aviv, he called the Düsseldorf Airport to report his blunder. Airport personnel looked for the painting, but couldn't find it.

Fortunately, the story had a happy ending:

From DW:

A breakthrough in the case finally came after the man's nephew traveled from Belgium to report the painting missing at a police precinct located near the airport.

The case landed on the desk of inspector Michael Dietz, who then reached out to the airport's cleaning company. Together with the airport's property manager, they thoroughly searched through recycling containers for paper.

"Sure enough, the valuable painting was right at the bottom," police said in a statement.

The owner of the painting ended up picking up his artwork on Wednesday.

"This was definitely one of our happiest stories this year," police spokesman Andre Hartwig told the Associated Press. "It was real detective work."