Stacy Knutson, a waitress in Minnesotra, is crying “foul” after police confiscated a large tip that someone left for her.
The struggling mom of five says she was looking for a miracle to help with her family’s financial problems, but that miracle disappeared after police seized a $12,000 tip that was left at her table.
Knutson filed a lawsuit in Clay County District Court stating that the money belongs to her. Police claim that the tip consisted of drug money.
According to her attorney, Craig Richie, Knutson was working at the Fryn’ Pan when a woman left a to-go box from another restaurant on the table. Knutson followed the woman to her vehicle so she could give the box back to her.
“No I am good, you keep it,” the woman said, according to court documents.
Knutson didn’t know the woman and hasn’t seen her since, Richie said. Knutson thought it seemed “strange” that the woman told her to keep it but she took it inside.
When she opened the box, she found bundles and bundles of cash.
“Even though I desperately needed the money as my husband and I have five children, I feel I did the right thing by calling the Moorhead Police,” Knutson said in the lawsuit.
Police took the cash and initially told Knutson that if no one had claimed it after 60 days, she could keep it. Later, she was told it was 90 days. After the 90 days passed, she still didn’t have the money.
Then, police told Knutson the money was being held as “drug money” and she would get a whopping $1,000 reward. Lt. Tory Jacobson of the Moorhead police said he couldn’t disclose very much about the case because an investigation is ongoing.
“With turning this money over to us, we initiated an investigation to determine whose money this is,” Jacobson told ABC News. “The result has been a narcotics investigation.”
Here’s the argument the police are going with…because the money smelled like marijuana, they say it therefore falls under a law that allows for forfeiture of the money due to the fact that it was in the proximity of a controlled substance.
Bear in mind, there were no drugs in the box and Richie added that he thinks this law is not being used correctly.
“Because it was in contact with drugs somewhere along the line, it’s somehow drug money,” Richie said. “This isn’t drug money.”
Knutson’s financial issues are well-documented at her church, Richie said. She thinks maybe a parishoner gave her the money through the unidentified woman but didn’t want to be identified.
“Somebody knew she really needed the money and she needed to be helped,” Richie said.
Jacobson says it is up to the judge to decide who gets the cash.
Note to Stacy: next time you get a big tip, don’t call the cops.
- $12,000 left at Minnesota restaurant — tip or drug money? (mercurynews.com)
- Don’t Call the Cops No. 359: Police Keep Suspiciously Large Tip (reason.com)
- Police hold waitress’ massive tip as part of drug investigation (shortformblog.com)