Talk about temptation: box-seat tickets for New York Yankees playoff games lying on the street. Not for nine New Jersey youngsters, who gave the tickets to the police.

"It's a real tribute to their honesty and total integrity," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said yesterday in a statement.

The tickets belonged to Wachovia bank. Only four of 70 tickets in a package worth $20,000 that apparently fell off a delivery truck Monday are still missing, Wachovia bank spokeswoman Fran Durst said.

"I am absolutely amazed by their honesty," Durst said. "What a temptation, just to take these tickets and go to the game. But they did the right thing."

Since the tickets -- some worth $2,600 each -- are for bank customers, the bank will treat the boys and their parents to a New Jersey Nets game Dec. 10 against New Orleans from its luxury box at the Continental Airlines Arena, Durst said.

The Yankees also gave the boys and their parents tickets to Thursday night's 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins, which captured the AL East title. The boys were honored before the game at Summit (N.J.) City Hall. They also will be sent Yankees memorabilia, Rubenstein said.

"We do have a lot of good kids out there, and that's why their actions should be commended," Lt. Robert Weck said.

On Monday afternoon, seventh-graders Corey Platt and Chris Osmun found some of the tickets while walking home after school, and they flagged down an officer.

"Another group found the majority of the tickets down the street, took them home, told their parents, and decided to turn them in," Weck said, referring to seven other boys. Other tickets trickled in during the following days.

"I was very happy that they were rewarded," Corey's mother, Elizabeth Platt, said yesterday. "But I'm a little nervous . . . that the next time he does something right and doesn't get this reaction, he might not do the right thing the third time."

-- From News Services