Stacy Knutson, Moorhead waitress, gets to keep her $12,000 tip after all

Categories: Lucky
stacy knutson.jpg
Finders, keepers, in the case of Stacy Knutson and her magic box.
Poverty-stricken waitress Stacy Knutson stumbled across $12,000 while working at the Fryn' Pan in Moorhead. She reported her fortuitous, unclaimed finding to police, only to have them keep the cash on the pretense that it was drug money. She later sued the county to recoup the funds, arguing police had no basis for the drug money claim.

Today, the 18-year restaurant veteran and mother of five received good news. The Clay County attorney's office decided to return the full $12,000 to Knutson and her family, meaning she and her kids should eat well for the foreseeable future. No reason for the decision was immediately given, but perhaps the Grinch-like move to seize the money created a PR shitstorm the county just didn't want to weather.

"She and her family were praying and asked God's intervention to touch these peoples' hearts," her attorney, Craig Richie, told the Star Tribune, "and that's what happened."

After Knutson turned the cash over to police, officials argued the bills had a strong marijuana odor, triggering a state statute that allows loose cash to be confiscated if it's in proximity to controlled substances. But in the lawsuit, Knutson's attorney brought out the heavy hitters to make the case that police had no justification for seizing the dough.

Nickolas Fronning, a line cook at the Fryn' Pan, suggested that as a person who is quite familiar with the scent of marijuana himself, he would've recognized the presence of ganja in Knutson's magic box. "I know the smell of marijuana, [and] I can also assure you that there was no smell of marijuana on the bills or coming from the box," he said in the lawsuit.

Call it luck if you want. But to Knutson and Richie, the $12,000 find is an instance of divine intervention.

"It was about God providing for her," Richie said. If that's true, then He certainly does work in mysterious ways.

Previous coverage:
-- Mystery woman leaves $12,000 at restaurant; waitress says it's a tip, police say drug money

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25 comments
Minionatp
Minionatp

The DA was afread that this was the a perfect case to use to challenge civil asset forfeiture laws as unconstitutional (because they are)The 5th amendment to our constitution says that no one shall be deprived of their life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Civil asset forfeutire laws are severaly abused, they allow law enforcement to take property arbitrarily without charging anyone with a crime. It is time to end them.

Guesty
Guesty

Cass County? But Moorhead is in Clay County. Why would Cass be involved?

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

That's one sweet tip!

Do you think she will claim this gift on her taxes?   The greed of government will take 40% for the "Gift tax" (IRS form 709)

Jaime A. Vicencio
Jaime A. Vicencio

Good ending for that poor mother. I'm sure that money was left by an Angel, there is no other explanation, and I liked the Cass county attorney's action. I wonder how much Stacy's attorney will get from that money (?). For the next time the moral is: If you find a similar tip, you better shut your mouth, keep it, do not call the police, and cover your needy expenses with it.

Jaime A. Vicencio
Jaime A. Vicencio

Good ending for that poor mother, and I liked the Cass county attorney action. I'm sure an  Angel was the one who left that tip for Stacy Knutson. The moral now is: If you find the next time a similar tip on a table, shut your mouth, keep it, do not call the police, and cover all your needy expenses with it.  

Ray
Ray

 "She and her family were praying and asked God's intervention to touch these peoples' hearts," her attorney, Craig Richie, told the Star Tribune, "and that's what happened."

Meanwhile God said to thousands of other people without attorneys to go fuck themselves.

metaldon
metaldon

Good story...happy ending

nofreedommmm
nofreedommmm

how much did the lawyer get from the poor mother of five children  that could not keep her knees togeather so now she has five kids she and her spouce brought into the world.

jim
jim

She is very lucky there was so much publicity over this.  There are countless others who have fallen victim to asset forfeiture laws without the luxury of publicity or lawyers.  Here's hoping the media does it's job and reports on the bigger picture.

Cdf
Cdf

 The Lawyer did not take one penny  He di the case pro bono

Jacc
Jacc

This is definitely about all of the publicity. Some Minnesotan journalist(s) should do a story on the cash forfeiture process in Minnesota. Police can basically take any cash and say it's not yours. You can sue in Civil Court, but the cash itself becomes a defendant and basically takes the position that it wants to remain with the state. Had this gone to a civil case she would have lost. It is almost impossible to win back seized cash from the state, innocence be damned.

Guy T. Gardner
Guy T. Gardner

Really? God put the money in the box? God put the box on her table?

I could have thought it was because someone who ate at her table left a box with cash in it for her...

Way to belittle the generosity of other people in the name of your personal deity.

BFWB
BFWB

This is God's way of providing for her lawyer's family.

atrupar
atrupar

You're right -- it should've said Clay County. My mistake, it has been fixed. Thanks for pointing that out!

Footnotegirl
Footnotegirl

 Other, more likely explanation: Left by a normal human being who had the money.

sickofinconsideratea**holes
sickofinconsideratea**holes

Really... Who says her life was ALWAYS like this maybe she has just fallen on hard times and the fact that she has 5 kids shouldn't mean anything, the fact that she is working her ass off to take care of the kids that she "brought into this world" should... you can't say that about everyone, that includes people who are well off. Would you have said this about a rich person? Or is it okay to you to have 5 kids as long as you have money? Look at the economy, and recognize that you don't know this womans situation before you start talking s*it and judging!

Ray
Ray

 That's practically Zero.  why didn't she just shut her mouth and go home to pray?

Jaimevic78
Jaimevic78

That's why anybody who finds that kind of tip is suppose to shut mouth, keep it and do not report anything. That way you save to give any chunk of it to the crook attorney.

nofreedommmm
nofreedommmm

what does this god look like ? maybe like the big bang.

Guy T. Gardner
Guy T. Gardner

I know it might be hard concept for your theist mind to grasp, but you worshiping an imaginary friend does not mean the rest of us worship something else when we refuse to acknowledge your imaginary friend.Furthermore, you have disavowed almost just as many gods as I have, minus one. Take a step further, embrace logic and facts, not lying and falsehoods.

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