An armored truck dropped loads of cash onto a freeway in Carlsbad, California, causing a major traffic jam as motorists hopped out of their vehicles to scoop up the bills — but authorities say drivers need to return the money or face possible criminal charges.
Shortly before 9:15 a.m. Friday, California Highway Patrol (CHP) began receiving 911 calls about cash scattered across an area of Interstate 5 near Cannon Road.
CHP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that several people got out of their cars to chase after the money. Both agencies are investigating the incident.
“Many of the motorists returned the money immediately to the officers; however, there were motorists observed driving from the scene with stolen money,” they said in a joint press release. “The CHP would like to thank those motorists who have already returned money to their local CHP office and remind the public to do the right thing and return any money they found on the freeway.”
Authorities said that videos and photos were posted on social media that captured people’s faces and the license plate numbers of cars. The agencies released several photos showing people scooping up the bills.
In one photo, a woman wearing a grey hoodie was seen laughing as she held a wad of cash in her arm. Other photos released by authorities were screengrabs taken from an Instagram video posted by fitness influencer Demi Bagby.
“This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen,” Bagby said in the video she shared with her more than two million followers. “Someone dropped money all over the freeway.”
As Bagby pans the camera, people are seen grabbing cash from the street.
Bagby did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
CHP and the FBI said Friday that anyone who took money needs to return it within 48 hours “in order to avoid a potential criminal charge.”