Stacy Knutson, a waitress in Minnesota who sued local law enforcement after police confiscated a $12,000 tip, has been given her money back.
The waitress found a box left at her table at the Fryn' Pan Family Restaurant in Moorhead, Minnesota. She chased down the customer in the parking lot, attempting to give her box back. The woman told her to keep it. When she opened it up, she found bundles of cash totaling $12,000.
The mother of five called the police, who told her to wait 90 days to see if anyone claimed the money. She did as instructed, but when she came back for the money, she was told it was being held as drug money. The police had drug dogs investigate the cash and claimed that it smelled like marijuana residue.
Knutson hired an attorney, who filed suit on the case. But before it went to court the county attorney's office and the Moorhead Police Department agreed to give the money back.
Stacy says she will use the money to pay for medical bills and help her five children. In an interview with local radio station WCCO NewsRadio 830, her attorney describes the customer as either a good Samaritan who may have been aware of her situation through the church or an "angel unaware."
She and her attorney do not believe the money was involved in drugs. They had affidavits signed by co-workers who handled it immediately after she received it, who say they did not smell marijuana on the cash. With the highly sensitive noses that dogs posses, it might be possible the cash was used for drugs at any point in its circulation, not necessarily from the previous owner.
Regardless of if it was used in connection with drugs, Stacy and her attorney believe the County Attorney would have wanted her to have the money anyway, they just had to go through due process to get it.