“I found a significant amount of money (over $100) laying on the sidewalk”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking on U Street Saturday night when I found a significant amount of money (over $100) laying on the sidewalk. It had clearly fallen out of someone’s wallet, and after looking around and seeing nobody nearby who it belonged to, and no clear indication if who it belong to, I picked up. I thought about bringing it to the police station, but I’m not sure if they would accept it, and if they did, if it would just sit around an evidence locker forever. My first instinct is to donate it – most likely to the Louisiana flood relief efforts, but I’m wondering if anybody has any experience returning lost money to the police and if that really is my best course of action. Thanks!”

36 Comment

  • I would have put that money in my wallet.

    • +1

    • Yep. File the experience away under “cool things that happened to me”, spend the money however you’d like, and don’t feel guilty about it. I mean, unless you see some little old lady on the news crying about how she lost her life’s saving or something…

    • This happened to me once. I found a 100 dollar bill on the ground. I waited around 10 minutes to see if anyone came to claim it, and then put it in my wallet. I still can’t believe I found that money!

  • palisades

    My friends and I found a Baggie of weed on the street one night. We smoked it all.

  • this is the world sending you some good juju. keep it.

  • Keep it or donate to charity. DO NOT GIVE TO POLICE!

  • Look, if you turn it in, it’s either going to “get lost” or, best case, sit in an evidence closet for 5 years gathering dust until it goes to the DC general fund or something. You may as well spend it. Buy your mother a gift if you want to.

  • I’ve gone to absurd (and rarely successful) lengths to return personal property. Cash found in a public and well-trafficked location does not qualify. Enjoy your windfall!
    (I will always remember the day my husband came home and said, “You know what’s better than finding a fifty-dollar bill in the parking lot? Finding TWO fifty-dollar bills in the parking lot.”)

    • The odds are the owner getting it back are non-existent, and it most likely belonged to someone who was buying drugs (or had just sold drugs) so you’re doing them a favor.

      • Why would you think it was a drug dealer? On Saturday night on U Street, it was probably a waiter or busboy or bartender that makes a living on tips and receives a lot of it cash. I’m not saying that the letter writer should give it back but your assessment that someone carrying cash is on drugs or in the drug trade is really off. It’s so much more likely to be a service professional.

      • @ Anon – Asinine comment. No reason to jump to unfounded conclusions about where the money came from. It’s just as likely to have fallen out the pocket of someone who’d just been to the ATM or some other of the millions of scenarios that are likely here.

  • Anytime I find money on the street, I tell myself that its karma/luck. I have lost plenty of money over the years, and so lady luck is paying me back.

  • Was the money kind of greenish gray? If so, that’s totally my money. I dropped it on U Street Saturday night. Send it to me at…

  • I found about $400+ on the street once, and felt really bad for the person who lost it so I naively gave it to the police. They told me to check back in 6 months and if nobody had claimed it, I was entitled to it. Needless to say, 6 months later the only information they would give me is that nobody claimed it and then proceeded to give me the run around for how I could obtain it. I tried one more time, then decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, since I had little faith I would end up with it.

    So that being said, I would say keep it or donate it.

    PS, this was not in DC.

  • I Dont Get It

    Keep it but how about giving Louisiana relief efforts a cut?

  • Kudos to you for thinking of kind and honest ways of donating/returning the money (I guess people aren’t so bad after all). Though I agree with what most others have said that you should either enjoy it for yourself or donate it – giving it to the police seems like a very long shot at getting it back to the originally owner.

  • I’d keep it, but donate at least a portion. I found a $10 bill on the street a couple of years ago. I used it to buy a Street Sense, on the assumption that the guy selling it could use the money more than I could.

  • I hear there’s a veteran downtown who could use that cash for a hotel room….

  • skj84

    Man, that really sucks for the person who lost the money. But at the end of the day, its found cash on the street. Enjoy your mini-windfall! On a side note, i once found an envelope containing over $1000 in the bathroom of the restaurant I worked at. I seriously considered just keeping it, but decided to turn it into management. They very next day the owner of the cash came by to pick it up! They were so thankful they left me a $500 tip. So I still made out well in the end!

  • I go running near 14th and U St on Saturday and Sunday mornings and often find cash on the ground. I have picked up about $150-$200 this year alone. I am probably up to about $500 over the past 4 years.

  • I found a smaller amount once and bought copies of Street Sense a few times with some of it.

  • I was in the same situation 2-3 years ago when I found ~$1,000 sitting in a pile of snow. I called MPD who dispatched an officer. The officer recommended that I keep the money because there would be no way for even the rightful owner to claim the money (there was nothing identifying with the stack of cash).

    Additionally, the officer said that if I turned in the money, it would eventually be donated to the MPD.

  • I once found a $50 bill in the alley behind my old condo (about 20 years ago so it was worth more than $50 today). I picked it up and put it in my wallet. And ultimately spent it. No guilty feeling whatsoever. In fact, the opposite: It was my lucky day!!!

  • If you take it to a District it will be put in the books as found property… Held at district for a couple months then to Evidence control … for ever…. or so…. Donate It…. and may it come back 10 fold to you and the owner….

  • I have a sort of similar moral dilemma– I had a box show up to my house to my address but a different name. I gave the box to a neighbor of that name but she later tried to return it to me bc it wasn’t hers (different last name). I knew from the box it was a common household product, and at the time I was like, “Well listen, do you want to keep it? Because I have one of these and don’t need two.” And she so she kept it.

    Fast forward to yesterday when the same box and same household product showed up again. I googled it, and apparently this item is not any old household thing, it’s like the fanciest, newest, most well designed version of this thing that retails for $400 and apparently this is a sneak preview item that’s not even being released for another month. And I also use my $30 amazon version of this item everyday. So now I want to keep it but that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. Should I facebook this person? How does she not know her address for her v fancy product? Or is this mine now?

    • Anon – You should tell us what the product is and stop keeping us in suspense! If you name it, does a national secret get exposed or something? Hahaha

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