The Iowa State Patrol says there’s no such thing as “finders keepers, losers weepers” and they want to recover money that flew out of an armored car in central Iowa Tuesday along Interstate 80. Over 300-thousand dollars in coins and paper bills fell out of the truck near the eastbound Grinnell rest area in Jasper County when the door on the Lewis Systems armored vehicle came open. Lieutenant Rob Hansen of the State Patrol says guards in the truck quickly stopped, but he says they couldn’t act fast enough as the spill caused “hysteria.” Cars both eastbound and westbound stopped, as the money floated around in the wind, and officers were told 40-60 people stopped, some returning some of the money and others not doing that. Hansen says some of the people turned the money in –including a man who found bills stuck to the front of his car like a squashed bug. Others took off with the money, including two people from Las Vegas who were pulled over and charged with criminal theft. Hansen said as of Wednesday afternoon, 60-thousand dollars had been recovered with 260-thousand still missing. Hansen says those who are caught spending the money will be charged. Troopers and the DCI are working on leads from tips and license-plate numbers, and think the cash still missing — 260-thousand — can be traced so anyone who spends it will be caught. Hansen says if you have some of the money you can still turn it in without facing charges. He says they’re offering amnesty through four o’clock Saturday for those who turn in the money. Hansen says anyone who comes forward with information leading to the recovery of money may be eligible for a reward. He says the loss of the money is believed to be an accident. They’re focusing on the armored car’s door-latch, though they’ll interview everyone involved and haven’t ruled out anything. Hansen isn’t surprised that many of the drivers stopped to help pick up the money, or turned in what they found. He says if he’d been the trooper who rolled up right after the incident that’s what he’d have expected people to do since he assumes they know right from wrong. While troopers have recovered large amounts of cash in stops of drug dealers in the interstate, Hansen says having money accidentally spilled is something new. Though he doesn’t remember it, he’s talked to folks from other parts of the country who’ve seen incidents, some involving faulty doors. If you’ve found some of the money, you’re asked to call the State Patrol or your local law enforcement agency.
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