After I-285 ‘cash storm,’ few people come forward to return money

$175,000 flew out the doors of an armored truck. Only about $6,000 has been turned in

Have you ever noticed that people don’t want to give you a bunch of money?

Folks at the Dunwoody Police Department know the feeling. Lately, they've been waiting for people to return cash scooped from the side of I-285 on July 9 when an armored truck's door flew open, sending bills flying. But few people have showed up, even after police promised not to file any charges for those who surrendered the cash.

Police said the company that owns the truck, GardaWorld, still hasn’t figured out why the door swung open on the road. But the company doesn’t think there was any “foul play” involved, according to Sgt. Robert Parsons.

Workers told cops they thought they lost more than $175,000, picked up by dozens of passersby who stopped on the busy highway. As of late last week, Parsons said drivers had only returned $6,000.

About nine people have returned cash. Most told police their conscience had gotten the better of them, Parsons said. One was a guy said he realized he’d be an easy target for prosecution because he was driving a company vehicle, with logos plastered on the sides, when he took the money. Several people took videos of the scene.

Investigators would charge the money-grabbers with theft, Parsons said, because it was “pretty apparent” the cash had come from the truck. As officers were stuck in traffic trying to get to the scene, GardaWorld workers were trying to pick up money before passersby could. By the time the cops got there, the money was nearly all gone, and the investigator assigned to the case had a tough job.

Parsons said the videos are mostly shot from far enough off that license plates can’t be read, making it difficult to identify the people who took the cash. And even if police could identify someone on the video, it might be near impossible to determine how much the person got.

“It’s gonna be hard for us to prove who took what — even, frankly, for the people who brought money in,” Parsons said. “We had one person who came into the lobby with $10 or less. Who’s to say they didn’t really get $10,000?”

Dunwoody police said two people have already returned about $3,000 total in cash. All denominations of bills spilled from the truck. "Ones, fives, fifties, you name it, it was in there," Sgt. Robert Parsons said.

Credit: Dunwoody Police Department

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Credit: Dunwoody Police Department