What would you do?

Yesterday on Route 19 in Upper St. Clair, one of those armored bank doohickeys had its rear doors come open somehow and over one hundred thousand dollars went flying into the windy Pittsburgh day to be scooped up by various Burghers who apparently had been praying for moneyrain.

MONEYRAIN! Great rapper name.

So, bags and bags of money falling into the street and a hundred grand of it is now missing at the hands of opportunistic drivers who now have a two-week grace period to return their ill-gotten gains.

First, this feels like a Burn Notice episode. Second, had you been driving behind the armored vehicle when this happened, what would you have done?

Me? If I had taken one single dollar that floated in the breeze, I would never have slept again on account of my conscience beating me senseless with its bitchslapper.  And I can blame my father for this, because he raised us with a zero-tolerance dishonesty policy, so much so that as an adult if I leave a store and realize that something wasn’t rung up or that I forgot something on the bottom of my buggy, I will go back into the store, get back in line and pay for the item.  For sleep’s sake.

I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying that so you understand how much of a dork pilgrim I am.

So had that been me driving behind the car when it started raining money, I’d either have kept driving or would have stopped and helped the armored car drivers recover the money.

Now my husband? He would have had to fight the very strong urge to tar himself and run yippee-ki-aying into the moneyrain.

Yin. Yang. N’at.


  1. bucdaddy
    December 1, 2011 11:52 am

    There’s a reward offered, BTW. I’d turn in the money, for sure, but I’d also call the cops from a disposable phone and bargain the reward up to at least 10 percent.

  2. jen
    December 1, 2011 12:04 pm


  3. emstef23
    December 1, 2011 12:09 pm

    I would have stopped to help them collect the money and taken none. This is such a different scenario than if you are walkinga long and find a $20 bill and no one around you claims it. This is tons of money from an armored truck (which OMG someone is about to lose their job for this screw up!) – that’s theft.

  4. Kristy
    December 1, 2011 12:14 pm

    I also could not have taken it. It’s stealing, plain and simple, and my parents raised me better than that as well. I’m actually kind of disappointed so much money is missing because I would have thought Pittsburghers were above that. Sad.

  5. AngryMongo
    December 1, 2011 12:14 pm

    Always comes down to this. Eventually, you will get caught. Can you live with those consequences?

  6. Noelle
    December 1, 2011 12:24 pm

    Karma will get you every time. I’d help him collect it. This is like a cartoon circumstance…

  7. rickh
    December 1, 2011 12:28 pm

    I’d absolutely return it in full. Otherwise I just know that karma boomerang would come whipping around to greet me.

  8. PghDad
    December 1, 2011 12:32 pm

    Thoughts in my head if I was right behind the truck

    “Odds are that the driver gets fired and the money reimbursed through insurance so that issue is covered.”

    “It is theft, however statistically I would think it is unlikely you’d get caught … ”

    “Take it, feel really really guilty, rationalize it, feel even guilter, and return almost all of it?”

    “Damn I hate those nuns”

  9. Butcher's Dog
    December 1, 2011 12:45 pm

    Since this happened in Upper St. Clair, and hundreds of thousands are still missing, I’m wondering if those Occupy folks are right about the 1% afterall. Just skeptical, cynical old me ruminating.

    Like responses to a previous thread, the “What I Would Do” answers may be much more moral as hypotheticals than they would be in reality. Not to impune Ginny here or PghDad, both of whom reference early childhood developmental issues. I was “raised right”, too, but if a bag of money flies into my open car window I might have to lighten the contents a bit before I track down the van and give it back. Just sayin’.

  10. Vannevar
    December 1, 2011 12:57 pm

    Perhaps the best way to cover an inside theft job is to let loose a bag of money into the wind and then blame the public. This might be a little too simple. Just saying.

  11. Heather
    December 1, 2011 12:58 pm

    You know, this kind of falls along the same lines as the “would you rather cheat on your spouse and have no one find out, or NOT cheat but have everyone think you did?” question. You’re damned if you do and damned if you dont.
    On one hand, sure, no sleep, feeling guilty, ‘I did something wrong’ comes to mind.
    On the other, this is a heck of a lot different than finding someone’s wallet full of Christmas money for their kids and pocketing it.
    I guess it’s really one of those “none of us know what we would actually do until we actually had the chance” things…

  12. djh
    December 1, 2011 12:59 pm

    If you thought about taking the money, all I have to say is 2 words: Joey Coyle. He was an unemployed guy from Philly who found 1.2 million after it fell out of the back of an armored car back in 1981 and was arrested as he was trying to flee the country after his 1 week spending spree. Sad story overall.

    They made a movie about it called “Money For Nothing” starring John Cusak. It was filmed in Pittsburgh.

  13. Beatrice
    December 1, 2011 1:03 pm

    I bet a lot of it simply blew away. If there were literally large bills flying in the wind…most of it is likely still in the wooded areas along the road.

  14. T
    December 1, 2011 1:10 pm

    If the driver was not in sight, I would have gladly taken it and then felt a huge guilt trip once I saw it on the news and knew who I could turn it in to… MY husband, on the other hand, would try to get me to keep it. We talked about this last night!

  15. facie
    December 1, 2011 1:12 pm

    If you were driving behind the truck, saw the money fly out, and took some, you have stolen, plain and simple. No way would I take it. If this happened in a residential area, and you were walking by and noticed the money (after the truck was gone), that I can understand.

    I have found cash lying on the ground before. I can’t imagine going to the police station for a found $10 or even $20 bill (and I have lost cash before). Dems da breaks.

    For larger bills found randomly, however, my conscience would no doubt force me to call the police, though I would request that I keep the money until someone calls the police. You just can’t be sure.

  16. Rich D
    December 1, 2011 1:16 pm

    The driver is probably going to lose his job regardless of whether or not the money is returned and the loss will be covered by insurance. That being said, I don’t know what I’d do. Maybe the karma boomerang dropped that bag of money in the back of my truck as repayment for some past good deed! I’ve gone back into stores to pay for missed things and when the lady in front of me walked away from the mac machine with the prompt still reading “Want another transaction?” I hit the cancel button and caught up with her to give back her mac card.

    I’d probably take it home and then feel so guilty by the next morning I’d return it. If I was afraid to return it, I’d drop it in a Salvation Army bucket or something.

  17. LuAnn
    December 1, 2011 1:30 pm

    Yes, I WOULD take it… right to the police station.

    Not mine to keep.

  18. Paul
    December 1, 2011 1:42 pm

    You mean, take the money like the banks have taken ours. Hey O!

    Anyhow, I’d like to think I’d return it, even if a bag o’cash magically flew into my car window.

    It probably depends on how much effort it would take to return the money. If I saw where it came from and could easily track the place down, I’d return it. However, if it’s more effort thank that…

    Other than that, I think Butcher’s Dog has it right. Much easier to be the good guy in your head than it is outside cyberspace.

  19. Marcy
    December 1, 2011 1:44 pm

    I’m like you, Ginny – I’d never sleep again if I kept it – I think the thing people start to think is that it’s not really hurting anyone to keep it – I am guessing there are lots of people who would chase a person who dropped their wallet down the street – not as many would chase an armored car that dropped a bank’s (insured) money.

  20. Monty
    December 1, 2011 1:45 pm

    I would take the money to Atlantic City, bet it on one roll of craps and use the winnings to save my quirky record store from being bought out and converted into a Music Town.

  21. Butcher's Dog
    December 1, 2011 1:52 pm

    Let’s assume some (maybe much) of it blew into the woods. How long before it becomes abandoned property and eligible for recovery by anyone? I know the scale of value is much different here, but lost golf balls are legally abandoned property and may be kept by whoever finds them. After the insurance claim is paid? Does the insurance company then own the money? Thoughts to ponder on a chilly December day.

  22. Aileen
    December 1, 2011 1:54 pm

    I wonder if the driver of the money truck was new to the job. Maybe his previous job was driving a tanker on the Pennsylvania Turnpike…

  23. Brojack
    December 1, 2011 2:00 pm

    Three years ago this week I found a $100 bill, and a phone card on the service counter at a grocery store. I spent 5 hours tracking
    the lady down to get her $100 to her.

    She wasn’t well-to-do and was very grateful as this money
    was earmarked for her 9 yr old son’s Christmas present.

    If I was behind that van I would have stuffed as much of that cash in my trunk before I saw the blue lights! :-)

  24. spoon
    December 1, 2011 2:00 pm

    If I saw that happen I figure it was part of a reality show or a set up.

    That said, I would immediately strip down to my gutchies and go roll around in the money. They wont want it back after my ass touches it.

  25. SusanV
    December 1, 2011 2:00 pm

    I’m just like you…zero-tolerance dishonesty policy. I also return to pay for the forgotten items in the cart.

    Dork Pilgrims unite!

  26. Rich D
    December 1, 2011 2:29 pm

    @ Monty – If you got caught, we could hold a rave to help you raise the funds.

  27. Noelle
    December 1, 2011 2:40 pm

    I would totally rave with you hooligans. Eff yeah.

  28. MattDC
    December 1, 2011 2:51 pm

    People are either honest or not honest. “Fear of prosecution” motivates only one of those categories.

    Also, while I’m not an actuary, I somehow suspect that insurance reimbursement does not just fall out of the back of another magic truck. Someone actually pays for it, including the insurer’s other customers, shareholders and creditors.

  29. bucdaddy
    December 1, 2011 2:56 pm

    I found a $20 on the floor at a Sears once and turned it in to lost and found. I couldn’t imagine scooping up thousands of dollars and keeping it. Well, I couldn’t imagine ME doing that *burnishes halo*, I can easily imagine most of YOU lying miserable lying lot doing EXACTLY that, hah-ha!

    BTW, when I turned in the money, I gave them my name. I waited a month and then called Sears to ask if anyone had claimed the money. When they said no one had, I did.


  30. Paul
    December 1, 2011 2:58 pm

    “People are either honest or not honest. “Fear of prosecution” motivates only one of those categories.”

    Meh. What is the definition of an “honest” person. Somebody who has never told a lie?

    Both groups can be motivated by “Fear of prosecution”, but more motivated by something else. Pressure to pay bills for example.

    As far as I can recall, there’s only ever been one human without sin. We’re celebrating his birthday at the end of this month. The rest of us live somewhere in the middle.

    The world is not binary.

  31. Craig
    December 1, 2011 2:59 pm

    If your husband unstuck the money from the tar and gave it to the poor, he would be Robbing Hood!

  32. bluzdude
    December 1, 2011 3:00 pm

    Just be careful if a donation for 100K shows up at Make Room for Kids…

  33. Jann
    December 1, 2011 3:40 pm

    The checkout girl forgot to ring up my Thanksgiving turkey at our local Giant Eagle. Of course , I took it to the front desk to pay for it. Partly because I was raised that way and partly because I was sure we’d all choke on it Thanksgiving Day if I didn’t!

  34. Virginia
    December 1, 2011 3:42 pm

    Oh, Jann. That would have been more ironic than that turkey that flew into Eat n’ Park on Thanksgiving Day. Awesome.

  35. red pen mama
    December 1, 2011 3:45 pm

    Band name of the day: Dork Pilgrim.

    I side with those “raised right” or “honest” or whichever camp returns the money (or helps collect it and turns it over). I, too, am unable to steal, even accidentally.

  36. Megan M.
    December 1, 2011 4:42 pm

    Last year I was walking along a country road in northern New Hampshire, and I found $15 cash. I hadn’t seen another person in ages, and there was no way I could figure out who it belonged to. I pocketed it. And when I got back to Pittsburgh I felt horribly guilty about having it, knowing that $15 could be a lot to whoever dropped it. It sat in my kitchen for weeks, untouched. I finally added it to a donation I was making to a friend’s fund-raiser because there was no way I was ever going to bring myself to spend it.

    Which is my long-winded way of saying, no, I wouldn’t have taken any of the money from the truck.

  37. oh please
    December 1, 2011 5:16 pm

    @Paul, if you know stealing is wrong, it is wrong. Only one person was without sin, but that does not give us the license to sin freely.
    @Butcher’s Dog, it happened on rt. 19 in USC, a highly travelled road. No evidence if the thieves were residents or not. Unfortunately, dishonesty has no income requirement.

  38. suzie-Q
    December 1, 2011 8:35 pm

    Interesting isn’t it??? THe money falls into the streets in UPPER ST CLAIR….one of the wealthier neighborhoods in the area and the news simply makes mention of the fact the money bags fell out and they hope those who found the money return it.

    Had the money fallen out in one of our poor inner city neighborhoods, I think the news would have been a bit more frantic. MONEY LOOSE IN THE HOOD…and we know it will never be returned!!!!

    Just an observation…

  39. Leenyburgh
    December 1, 2011 8:38 pm

    I love the fact this happened in USC, two minutes from where I grew up. It is a very “normal” part of USC, and my parents still live right around the corner from where this happened. A girl I went to high school with said she saw it and said it was nuts… people grabbing money flying through the air. I agree with Ginny–I could not sleep if I took any money because I would be waiting for that knock on the door taking away everything I have just so I could score some free cash. Not worth it. I hope this whole thing is really a “Punked” episode.

  40. Erin
    December 1, 2011 9:52 pm

    So money in armored trucks just sits loose in the back? It’s not in crates or boxes or something? Weird.

  41. Arlette
    December 2, 2011 5:47 am

    Giant dork pilgrim here too. Giant. I blame my Catholic guilt. I found $5 at a mall food court once, and turned it in. My boyf at the time told me I bought that security guard lunch. I told said boyf (now an ex) “better him than me.” I also found bananas that the cashier forgot to charge me for when I was loading my car. I tredged back pushing my cart in the worst slushy wintry crap that Mid-West winters are made of, and paid for those damn bananas. And put my cart in the cart corral. My hubby always says that when the end comes, he’s more afraid of people than zombies, because people are evil. Thanks for proving him wrong Ginny and others. (BTW I almost wrote “dork pigeon,” and was like – “oh f*ck no, I *know* that’s not right!!) ;-)

  42. bucdaddy
    December 2, 2011 11:18 am

    *brrring … brrrrrrring*

    “Upper St. Clair police, Sgt. Smith speaking.”

    “Yeah, hi, is this the police?”

    “Upper St. Clair police, Sgt. Smith speaking.”

    “Yeah, hey, I saw on the news you’re looking for the money that fell out of that armored car?”

    “Yessir, we are.” *glances at caller ID* “You can help with that?”

    “Well, kinda, and by the way, I’m calling from a disposable phone. See, I happened to be there when the money was flyin’ around in the wind ‘n at … You shoulda seen it, it was like … like … what was that show that used to be on TV, where people stood in this like tube thing with money blowing all around them and they had like 30 seconds to grab all they could? It was like that.”


    “You shoulda seen it.”

    “Yessir. So … this money, you have some of it?”

    “Uh, no, I don’t.”

    “You know where it is?”

    “Well, no, not exactly.”

    “So … you can help us how, sir?”

    “Well, ya see, I was raised right. My mama taught me to be honest and not to steal ‘n at.”


    “And I am. I mean, like, when I’m in a restaurant and the waitress forgets to put like the nachos or that third beer on the bill? I always point it out, y’know?”


    “I figure, it’s coming out of some poor working stiff’s pocket one way or another. People think they’re sticking it to The Man when they steal, but really it’s the guy at the bottom of the pile that gets the shaft. It’s the …”

    “So you can help us how, sir?”

    “Well, ya see, while everyone was running around in a frenzy alongside the road, grabbing up that flying money? I had my cellphone out and I was taking pictures of them. And their cars. And their cars’ license plates. All of them. But I didn’t touch a dollar of that money myself.”

    “All of them?”

    “All of them.”

    “Well, sir, seeing as how we’re still about $99,600 short, we certainly would be interested in your help. Can you come on down to the station and we’ll …”

    “Sure, sure. And I’m sure you pay good money for information like this.”

    “We what?”

    “Pay good money. A real good reward for my honesty. Them pictures gotta be worth … I dunno, what would you say? About 25% of the loot to the people who lost it? That’s what I’m figuring, anyway.”

    “Well, sir, I understand there is a small reward but we don’t pay for info …” CLICK.

    *brrrrrrrring … brrrrrring …*


    “Hello there. Do you own a white Audi with the license plate USC FAN?”

  43. Butcher's Dog
    December 2, 2011 11:42 am

    bucdaddy apparently has way too much time on his hands this morning. Or not nearly enough to keep his mind occupied, at any rate. Hilarious, though, my friend! Perhaps all the moreso because of its plausibility.

  44. Nobody
    December 2, 2011 11:59 am

    I would have taken the money, and given it to CHS. ;-)