Someone left $30,000 cash on a NYC train... and got it back

Originally published at:


i once left all my worldly possessions on the train* and found them a day later, safe and sound, at penn station’s lost and found. it was probably only a hundred bucks worth of stuff in a rucksack - but invaluable to me. ( thanks mta! )

( * a lack of housing plus exhaustion does wonders for one’s awareness. )


Ronkonkoma is my favorite sounding town on the LIRR.

“Of course, one has to wonder why someone would carry $30,000 in cash around.”

Carrying around cash is neither a crime nor suspicious. This is what the cops say when they seize your cash through Civil Asset Forfeiture.


Wasn’t that the plot of Run Lola Run?

Fortunate that the conductor was not only an honest man, but also that he opted to look inside rather than to call the bomb squad.




A few years ago I found a $100 bill on the floor, which I was pretty sure was of more value to its owner than to me (among other considerations, like, what was the right thing to do). How to return? I put up a sign asking people who’d lost an important piece of paper to call me. Someone did a few hours later, asking “was the important piece of paper a $100 bill?” and maybe I just rewarded them for their lucky guess first try.


George Santos: “That’s mine! I left it there!”


A little more than 30 years ago, when I was working at the Pentagon Library, I found a $1 bill that somebody had used as a bookmark. So I put it on the little lost and found shelf that we had next to the place for people to check out books. It was there for a surprisingly long time before somebody claimed it.


Was his nickname Baba Yaga?

In Japan, there are some really weird laws about this kind of thing. You are technically required to turn things into the police, because failure to do so is still considered theft. However, by virtue of turning something into the police, you are legally entitled to 30% of its value (you can decline this when filling out the paperwork, and believe me, I have done this and it’s a lot of paperwork that includes an itemized list of every item in a wallet) if it is claimed within 3 months. After 3 months, it becomes legally yours.


If one wonders anything, one should wonder why people, especially non LEOs, consider cash in any amount to be suspicious.

1 Like

Oh, it’s suspicious alright. But that in itself is not probable cause or an excuse for seizure. The whole civil asset forfeiture thing is a miscarriage of justice. It’s just theft by the cops.

edited to add: Just as not every asshole behavior is or should be illegal, not every suspicious action justifies arrest or confiscation.

1 Like

Wowza. Yeah I always try to return stuff to the proper person or authority. It’s just good policy.

I can’t tell you how many times I used to lose my wallet/phone/keys/whatever and I always had to get all new everything.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.