It’s everybody’s fantasy: You’re driving behind an armored truck when it hits a bump and suddenly money, a lot of money, is swirling around you.
For Pember Library and Museum Director Pat Wesner it was a reality on Tuesday morning.
As she was driving north of Salem along Route 22 on her way to work, an armored truck passed her.
“Just as I was thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if the door popped open and money fell out?’ the truck hit a bump and there was a shower of money and coins. I couldn’t believe it,” Wesner said. The truck then proceeded to hit a second bump, which caused bills to start flying all over the place.
“It was absolutely like something out of a movie,” she said.
There she was, in the middle of the country, with more than $11,000 lying on the road in front of her. She pulled over and did what most other people wouldn’t have; she gathered the money, put it in her trunk and dialed 911.
“I said ‘you’re not going to believe this one,’ and they’re like ‘what? You’re reporting the money?’” Wesner said.
Greenwich State Police Trooper Kevin Saunders said he arrived on the scene quickly along with some undercover officers.
“There were two boxes of pennies with $25 a piece and a bag that said $11,000 on it, and other loose coins and bills,” Saunders said. The police then located the driver and truck at Price Chopper in Granville, and the man had no idea what had happened.
Police returned him to the scene and all the coins and dollars were gathered and given back to him.
“All the money was returned and all is well, which is good, but it’s pretty funny in a way,” Saunders said. Though the armored car company told him they thought the truck had a latch failure, Wesner said she did not see a door open before the money fell. She wondered if it had been left on the bumper.
Wesner is surprised at how many people told her she should have kept the money and said she never considered that as an option.
“I said to the trooper, ‘I wouldn’t put $1 in my pocket that wasn’t mine — yeah, I could’ve used the money, but that’s stealing,’” she said.
When she spoke to corporate representatives for the armored car company, they told her they very much appreciated her honesty. Trooper Saunders told her most people wouldn’t have turned it in.
“It’s not ‘finders keepers,’ it still doesn’t make it yours just because it’s not a felony,” Wesner said with a laugh.
However, the company is supposed to contact Wesner again soon and when asked if she expected a reward, she said she wouldn’t mind one.
“My birthday is this weekend and that would be a great present,” she joked.