10:29 AM, Oct 6, 2010
Rush hour took on a whole new meaning this morning when an armored car dropped about three bundles of cash at Downtown intersection and commuters swooped in to grab the swirling bills.
The bundles fell from a truck at Washington and Meridian Streets at 7:30 a.m., according to police and witnesses.
“I looked in the street and saw this box and wondered what it was doing there,” said Amanda Hart, 23, who works at T-Mobile, 2 W. Washington St. “Then a couple cars ran over the bundles and these bills came flying out.”
That set off a frenzy, with people storming through traffic into the intersection to grab some of the bounty, said Brieanna Patterson, 22, Hart’s co-worker.
“People were stopping their cars, picking up loads of cash and driving away,” she said. ‘People ran into the street and grabbed armloads, paying no attention to traffic. I saw two women walk by here real fast holding as much loose cash as they could in their arms against their chest. They looked like they were all $20s.”
The women estimated about 10 people grabbed money before a conscientious citizen pulled up.
“There’s always one person like that,” Hart said. “A guy pulled up in a van and put the boxes inside.”
Shortly afterward five police cars arrived and stopped traffic. Fifteen minutes later the armored car returned and retrieved the remaining cash.
The women noted that none of the people who snagged the bills were the homeless regulars stationed at the intersection.
“This could have been the biggest thing that ever happened to them and they missed it,” Patterson joked. “I don’t know where they were.”
As of mid-morning, there was no official estimate on how much cash was dropped and no explanation how the loss occurred.
Timothy Wentworth, 53, said police told him $20,000 in cash blew away.
Wenworth called police when he got the intersection in his van with his wife, Viki.
Police described the Wentworths as “two good citizens who helped secure” the money.
“People were having a field day when I pulled up,” Wentworth said. ‘At first I didn’t know what it was but when I saw it was cash I figured I better call police.”
He said the cash was in three large bundles, double-stacked and wrapped in plastic. “Kind of like cases of dog food,” he said.
He said each bundle had 16 rolls of bills in it. One roll of 20s had been knocked out of one of the bundles, Wentworth said.
“I think the police said about $20,000 was in it,” he said.
Wentworth said it never occurred to him to grab the cash.
“It wasn’t my money,” he said. “I know we are in a recession but I wasn’t raised that way.”
Call Star reporter John Tuohy at (317) 444-6303 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (317) 444-6303 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
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