You are driving down the highway when suddenly $20 bills start falling from the sky. What do you do?
Dozens of motorists along Interstate 40 on Monday decided to stop and grab as much as they could. Now they could face criminal charges.
Meanwhile, no one has come forward to claim the money, a good portion of which is in the hands of Oklahoma City police, authorities said Wednesday.
Dorinda Rose said she was driving west on I-40 about 2:45 p.m. when traffic in front of her began to stop near Meridian Avenue. Rose, who works for the American Red Cross and is medically trained, feared a traffic accident. So she stopped to see if she could help.
She found dozens of cars pulled over and people picking up handfuls of cash that were blowing across the road.
“There were people everywhere,” Rose said. “There were people running across the interstate dodging cars trying to pick up money.”
Rose said she immediately realized someone was going to miss such a large amount of cash, so she started collecting what she could.
She picked up a little over $400. But she had no inclination to keep it.
“Several people were talking about how they were going to get new shoes or pay their electric bills,” Rose said. “I said, ‘This money needs to be turned in.' They just ignored me.”
Rose turned in the money she picked up to Oklahoma City police. A paramedic with the Emergency Medical Services Authority also turned in a significant amount of cash, along with the empty First Fidelity Bank bag that likely held the money before it spilled onto the highway.
What's the crime?
Police won't say how much money they have or how much they think passing motorists took. Rose said she saw several empty wrappers with labels reading $2,000.
So far, no one has made a legitimate claim to the money, Oklahoma City police Sgt. Gary Knight said. But that doesn't mean those who stopped to pick up the cash are off the hook.
State law requires those who find money or property to attempt to locate the owner. Those who don't could be charged with larceny. If they found more than $500 and didn't report it, they could be found guilty of grand larceny, a felony.
Knight said if one or more people come forward to claim the money, a judge will ultimately decide the rightful owner.
If no one claims the cash after 45 days, it will go back to those who turned it in.
Rose said she is surprised more people didn't follow her example. When she came across the scene, she was on her way to get uniforms for a Special Olympics team she works with.
“I had enough money in my hands to pay for the Special Olympic team uniforms that I needed,” she said. “But that wouldn't have helped my kids. That's the wrong message to send.”