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Brink’s Truck Spills Cash on Highway, and Drivers Scoop It Up

Matthew Haag
Robynmac | Getty Images

There was hardly a cloud in the sky over Indianapolis on Wednesday morning when it started raining money.

In a moment that instantly tested the core of human morality, the definition of right and wrong, and the limits of acceptable risk, the back door of a Brink's armored truck swung open during rush hour on Interstate 70, blowing bags of cash onto the highway.

There was money — $600,000, troopers estimated — everywhere.

Some bags tumbled onto the road and stayed intact — thousands of dollars, sorted and organized, just sitting there for the taking. Others ripped open, showering cash over four lanes of the interstate. On the shoulder, $20 bills gathered like leaves and formed piles in the grass off the highway.

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Suddenly, the timeless hypothetical question became reality: What would you do?

A school bus driver knew what he would do, the police said. He pulled over on the highway, jumped out from the driver's seat and grabbed some cash before driving away. So did four men in a white pickup truck who snatched an entire bag and then sped off.

Jazmyne Danae stopped her car and started streaming live video on Facebook.

"One of those little bank trucks just dropped all this money and people just came out here," Ms. Danae said as she walked along the highway shoulder, which was covered in $20 bills.

At some point during the mayhem, word must have spread to people living in the residential area off the interstate in West Indianapolis. They started jumping fences and frantically stuffing their pockets with cash.

Roberto Machado Noa | LightRocket | Getty Images

"Sort of something out of a movie scene, where you have bills, loose bills flying all over the interstate, vehicles stopping, people getting out of their cars," Cpl. Brock McCooe of the Indiana State Police told WXIN-TV, the Fox affiliate in Indianapolis. "Bags of money were falling out of the back onto the interstate."

Within minutes, the cash grab was over. State troopers blocked traffic on the highway, helped Brink's employees collect what remained of the money and warned people that they would be arrested if they pocketed any of it.

The officers didn't find it amusing.

"You got money?" a trooper asked Ms. Danae in her video. No, she replied.

Ms. Danae, 25, said in an interview on Thursday that she was driving her grandmother to the airport when traffic came to a standstill on Interstate 70. At first, she thought the people running out of their cars were trying to rescue people in a bad accident.

But then her grandmother's friend, a passenger in the car, spotted the real reason. "There's money!" the woman screamed, prompting all of them to hop out.

Ms. Danae said it was tempting to grab a handful of cash, but she knew she would have not been able to sleep at night. "I have three kids, and I didn't want to put myself in that situation," she said.

Troopers at the scene told local news media that the Brink's truck had unloaded about $600,000. A company spokesman said the episode was under investigation and declined to offer additional information.

The Indiana State Police said later that the exact figure would not be released but that it was a "substantial amount." And they issued a warning.

"People know right from wrong and anyone we track down who kept a dollar of this money will be arrested for theft," First Sgt. Bill Dalton said in a statement. "The time to do the right thing and call us to turn in the money is now, because once we knock on your door, you won't be able to avoid being arrested."