Man finds bag of money; ends up being arrested for it

A Connecticut man said he couldn’t believe it when he found a bag with nearly $5,000 in cash lying in a parking lot.

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Three months later, he says he can’t believe he got arrested because of it.

Robert Withington, 56, of Trumbull, Connecticut, said he was leaving a bank when he saw a bag on the ground.

“I walked out onto the parking lot, saw something on the ground and there was no one around so I picked it up,” Withington told Hearst Connecticut Media. “It’s not like I stole something.”

“It’s not like this was planned out. Everything was in the moment and it was like I hit the lottery. That was it.”

Police, however, had a different take.

According to law enforcement authorities, the bag was clearly marked with a bank’s insignia and found outside the same bank. It contained cash from the town’s tax department, The Associated Press said.

There were also “numerous documents” inside identifying the rightful owner of the cash as the town of Trumbull, the AP reported Trumbull police as saying.

According to police, surveillance video showed an employee of the Trumbull Tax Collector’s office “inadvertently dropping a bag on the ground outside of the bank” on May 30, and soon after, Withington picking it up.

He was arrested last week.

“I have never had a criminal record in my whole life,” Withington said Monday. “This is like a crock of baloney. I found money and now it’s probably going to cost me money.”

James Mohs, associate professor of accounting and taxation at the University of New Haven, told Hearst that he does not think the charge will stick.

“Larceny by definition is a crime that involves the unlawful taking of property from someone else without a threat of violence,” he said. “Intent is the key — they’re going to have to prove he willingly took it.”

Withington said he was not thinking about the implications of taking the money and acted on impulse since no one was around to claim it.

“I’m struggling to find intent,” Mohs said. “He should have turned it in, whether it’s larceny or not, but I don’t think they’ll be able to prove intent with this.”

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