Cash Spill on N.J. Highway Snarls Traffic, Causes Multiple Crashes Because People Are Awesome

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Morning commuters were in for a bittersweet treat this week.

An armored truck managed to spill some cash, littering a New Jersey highway with money.

Motorists slowed or even stopped their cars to pick up the bills, slowing traffic and causing multiple accidents.

Brinks Truck

At about 8:30am on Thursday, December 14, an armored truck spilled cash on the westbound lanes of Route 3.

This was in New Jersey, near Metlife Stadium, right outside of New York City.

It also happened during the peak of morning rush hour.

Rush hour traffic is never good, but on this fateful morning, it was considerably worse than usual.

Why? Because people were leaving their cars and running out into the street to collect stray cash that was littered along the asphalt.

There is absolutely video, which we have included here.

new jersey money spill 01

Travel reportedly slowed to standstill as people stopped their cars to root around on the asphalt for cash.

Those with passengers simply slowed their vehicles so that someone else could scramble for cash.

According to police, there were "multiple" accidents that appeared to be a direct result of people hoping to get their hands on a little free money.

Not all of those collecting cash from the highway were opportunists.

Among the people was a man in a Brinks security uniform.

Some openly wondered if he was making an attempt to clean up his own mess, or that of a colleague.

new jersey money spill 02

Incidentally, this is not the first time that something like this has happened.

In June of 2015, a Brinks truck took a spill after a door on the vehicle malfunctioned.

This went down in Baltimore in the Harbor Tunnel.

At the time, motorists and pedestrians made an eager grab for the littered cash.

Others, however, were fully cooperative with authorities and even helped to return the cash.

new jersey money spill 03

So, is it legal to just pick up spilled cash in a situation like this?

In a word: No.

Contrary to jokes made about items "falling off of trucks," finders keepers is not how property rights generally work.

A small amount of cash with an unknown owner might be awarded to the person who finds it, but the cash in spills like this is not ownerless.

In the Baltimore case, police released a statement that people who had grabbed cash from the asphalt had two days to return it.

If they failed to do so, they could face charges of theft.

Assuming, of course, that they were caught.

Brinks Security

Unless it's The Purge, don't just assume that you own any money that you happen to be able to touch.

Maybe bearer bonds work that way, but even then, snatching them in broad daylight would be a little brazen.

Cash is just currency.

The same laws and social rules that make it illegal to just grab a television and run also make it illegal to pocket random money.

Between widespread surveillance technology and the omnipresence of personal cameras, usually on people's phones, you can easily be identified and caught.

Resist your impulses, folks. Snatching $20 that aren't yours off of the road isn't worth being late for work.

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