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Waitress Sues Cops for Return of Impounded $12K Tip, and Gets Her Money

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Waitress Sues Cops for Return of Impounded $12K Tip, and Gets Her Money

Apr 5, 2012, 12:28 pm CDT

Updated: A Minnesota waitress has $12,000 to help pay her bills after claiming in a lawsuit that she was entitled to the money she turned over to police after a customer gave it to her.

Stacy Knutson of Moorhead, Minn., said in the Clay County suit that more than 90 days had passed without anyone claiming the money and it should be returned to her, report the Associated Press and ABC News. Police said the money smelled like marijuana and it was being held in a drug investigation.

On Thursday, Knutson’s lawyer, Craig Richie, said authorities decided to return the money, report Reuters and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Knutson received her check Thursday night.

According to the suit, a customer left the money for Knutson when she was working at the Fry’n Pan restaurant. The money was in a takeout box for another restaurant. Knutson’s suit said she tried to return the box to the customer, not knowing what it contained, and the customer said, “No, I am good, you keep it.” When Knutson opened the box, she saw it contained wads of bills.

Richie says his client gave the money to police because she didn’t want to be accused of doing anything wrong. When no one claimed it, Knutson decided the money really was a gift, Richie says. She suspects the donor was someone from her church who knew she was having financial troubles.

“The only thing that smells bad about this is that it’s unfair,” Richie told ABC before the settlement was announced.

Knutson plans to use the money to pay medical bills. She currently works full time at the Fry’n Pan and part time at two other jobs.

Subsequent coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “After Suit Is Filed, Cops Relent and Return $12K Tip to Waitress”

Updated on April 6 to report police have returned the money.

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