A door malfunction on an armored vehicle sent money flying along Interstate 270 on Friday morning.
The incident, which began about 8 a.m., initially was thought by officials to involve the crash of an armored vehicle that was headed northbound on I-270 near Route 80 in Urbana.
The driver of the vehicle, which was owned by Canada-based GardaWorld, was in the far left lane of the interstate when a lock on a door of the Ford E-350 van malfunctioned. A bag of cash fell out, sending bills flying.
It was still being determined how much money flew out.
Drivers stopped, got out of their vehicles and started grabbing the cash, police said. So many vehicles stopped that they essentially shut down the northbound lanes of the road. No one was injured. When a fire official also stopped and turned on the emergency lights of his vehicle, drivers fled onto Route 80 with money, police said.
We appreciate the good samaritan who turned some of the money found on I-270 back into the Frederick Barrack. Thank you for your honesty.
— MD State Police (@MDSP) October 31, 2014
By the time troopers arrived on the scene, “there wasn’t much to pick up,” said Greg Shipley, a spokesman with the state police.
Shipley said the driver realized the door was open, and he was looking for a way to pull over and stop.
“By the time he gets over, cash is floating through the air,” Shipley said. “Most, if not all the vehicles suddenly stopped with people’s hands raised in the air.”
“Traffic came to a stop when all the motorists stopped to pick up the cash,” he said. “The cash was so quickly picked up by numerous motorists.”
Police searched the area and brought in one of their dogs to sniff for the money. They found a little over $200 along the shoulder of the highway. A call to Garda, the armored vehicle company, was not immediately returned.
Anyone who took the money should turn it in to the state police barracks in Frederick, officials said.
“Sorry folks, it is not your money,” Shipley said. “If you picked it up and turn it in, you’re being a good citizen.”
And if not?
The highway money grabbers could be charged with theft, according to police. Shipley said investigators would be looking at area traffic cameras to try to identify people.
Surprisingly, there were no immediate pictures of people grabbing the flying cash on social media.
Shipley suspects “people were too busy collecting cash to take a picture.”
One citizen did come in to the Frederick barracks at about noon to turn in $1,160 in $20 bills, Shipley said.
It isn’t the first time there has been money flying around on a highway. In 2012, as many as 40 motorists stopped their cars and helped themselves after $5,795 fell out of an armored vehicle along Interstate 270 in Montgomery County.
One person who saw people stopping to get the cash in the 2012 incident described it as “kind of like a snow globe of cash.”