Cops Return the $12,000 They Stole From a Struggling Restaurant Server

Posted on April 11, 2012 by


Stacy Knutson has reportedly worked for a small salary and tips at the Fryn’ Pan restaurant in Moorhead, Minnesota, for eighteen years.

Eighteen years is an awfully long time. And waiting tables generates an awfully small income to help support a family of seven, including her husband and five children.

Despite all this, Knutson is apparently relentlessly honest. When a couple left the cash behind in a to-go box, Knutson followed them to the parking lot to try to return it, though she had not yet looked inside. The diners told Knutson to keep it. When Knutson opened the box and found the cash, she did something truly outrageous.

She called the police and turned the money in.

Police told her she could reclaim the money if another rightful owner had not come forward within 90 days, which is customary across the country. At the end of 90 days, Honest Knutson went to get her money. Which is when the police told her they had decided to steal it and keep it for themselves.

Their excuse was that the money was being held as drug money and thus could not be returned. Their justification? Not an investigation. Not evidence linking the cash to a crime. Not an anonymous tip. Not, well, not anything other than a narcotics dog alerting on the cash.

I gave some thought to the question of who needed the money more — Knutson or the Moorhead PD. On the one hand, you’ve got a struggling and honest mother of five, and on the other hand. a tax-payer funded police department.

The PD wins, because they apparently don’t have enough money for a computer and an internet connection. If they could afford such futuristic luxuries, they might have done a quick search and learned from Snopes, CNN, or any other source that virtually all American cash is tainted with drugs.

In the end, Knutson sued, and won, and got the money back. I know the PD needed it more than she did, but I do like to see honesty rewarded.