Waitress Sues to Reclaim $12K Tip, Gets the Cash

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A $12,000 tip? No service is that good. Nonetheless, Stacy Knutson, a waitress in Moorhead, Minn. claims an unidentified man left her a $12,000 tip. And that the cops took it.

Knutson turned in the money for fear that the individual may have made a mistake. After all, he left the cash -- rolled up tightly and secured with rubber bands -- in a to-go box on her table. But once law enforcement got a hold of it, they decided not to let it go.

They claim it's drug money and smells like marijuana.

Moorehead police originally told Stacy Knutson she could have the cash after 90 days if no one claimed it, reports the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. But midday Thursday they argued they were required to keep the cash as part of a criminal investigation.

This is pretty standard procedure for found property. Individuals who turn in lost items are often entitled to keep it if the rightful owner does not claim it within a designated number of days. It's also the case that, if the property has suspected ties to criminal activity, it can be confiscated as evidence.

Knutson didn't care, and filed a lawsuit to reclaim the cash, reports MSNBC. A department spokesperson claimed that this was her only option, explains the Forum. Its hands are tied, as it must follow procedure.

But it seems the lawsuit worked. Now the department has changed its tune. Faced with a lawsuit, they decided it was time to hand over the $12,000 tip. Stacy Knutson received a check on Thursday night.

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