One man returned more than $41,000 that he scooped up last week after the cash fell from a Brinks armored truck traveling west through Weatherford on Interstate 20.
That brought the total turned over to Weatherford police — by 14 people — to more than $48,500, officials said Tuesday.
The money spilled from a bag that fell out of the truck about 3 p.m. Friday, creating a frenzied cash-grab on the busy freeway.
People who took the loose bills are being asked to return them to police so the money can be reunited with its rightful owner, said Cmdr. Greg Lance, a police spokesman.
Brinks officials have declined to say how much money was in the bag. Officers searched the freeway for hours and found some cash, mostly between Mile Markers 403 and 410.
A significant amount of cash is unaccounted for, Lance said.
“We’re expecting more money to be returned,” Lance said.
Investigators are examining several cellphone videos that show people scrambling for cash in what one passer-by described as “an Easter egg hunt.” Money-grabbers who can be identified will be contacted. Those who took money — and don’t return it — may face theft charges, Lance said.
Brinks is helping Weatherford police recover the lost cash, Lance said.
“Let me put it this way,” Lance said. “If you bring the money back, you won’t face criminal charges. If we have to come find you, you will face criminal charges.”
Investigators are still trying to determine why the truck’s door opened and whether the money came loose after hitting the freeway or whether the bag opened after a vehicle struck it, Lance said.
A Brinks spokesman declined to disclose any details about the incident.
The Associated Press reported that Brinks is investigating a case in March in Salt Lake City in which a 75-pound bag filled with smaller bags containing $50 and $100 bills fell out of an armored truck on Interstate 80. A man identified as Dan Kennedy picked up the money alongside the road and tried to catch up with the truck but couldn’t. He turned the money over to police, according to The Associated Press.
Similar mishaps don’t happen often, said Edward Cunningham, a Brinks spokesman.
“We are a global company carrying valuables all over the world, and losses do occur but certainly not with the type of frequency that you are implying,” Cunningham said. “In Salt Lake City, one gentleman recovered the money and returned it. It was markedly different from the situation in your area.”
Danny Defenbaugh, former special agent in charge of the Dallas FBI office who now has his own security firm, said it is highly unlikely that the serial numbers from the missing money were recorded, making the cash much harder to track.
“Unless they were picking it up from a bank, there is a 99.9 percent chance that the serial numbers were not recorded, ” Defenbaugh said.
This report includes material from The Associated Press.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752
Do the right thing
Anyone who knows anything about cash picked up along I-20 last week is asked to call Weatherford police at 817-598-4300.