A struggling waitress in Moorhead, Minnesota is suing after police seized a $12,000 tip because they suspected it was drug money.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorehead reported on Wednesday that Stacy Knutson was working at the Moorhead Fryn’ Pan restaurant when she discovered a wad of cash wrapped in rubber bands in a to-go box.
“No, I am good; you keep it,” Knutson claimed the customer told her when she tried to return the money.
At first, police told her she could have the money back if no one claimed it 60 days. After 90 days, they still refused to return the money, telling her it was being held as “drug money.”
“Even though I desperately needed the money as my husband and I have five children, I feel I did the right thing by calling the Moorhead Police,” Knutson explained in the lawsuit.
For their part, police insist that the law allowed them to confiscate the cash because a drug-sniffing dog determined it had a strong odor of marijuana.
“Because it was in contact with drugs somewhere along the line, it’s somehow drug money,” Craig Richie, Knutson’s attorney, said. “This isn’t drug money.”
Nickolas Fronning, a cook at the restaurant, denied that there was any marijuana smell associated with the money.
“I know the smell of marijuana,” Fronning said in an affidavit. “”I can also assure you that there was no smell of marijuana on the bills or coming from the box.”
Police have said Knutson will be eligible for a $1,000 reward after their investigation is complete.