Minnesota waitress Stacy Knutson will keep her $12,000 tip, lawyer says

When a waitress in Moorhead, Minn. was left with $12,000, she called it a tip; police call it drug money

(CBS) MOORHEAD, Minn. - Stacy Knutson, a waitress in Minnesota, will now keep her $12,000 tip after police confiscated the cash claiming it was drug money, her attorney Craig Richie said.

"The county attorney's office and the Moorhead Police Department have now agreed to give her the entire $12,000," said Richie.

CBS Minnesota reports Stacy Knutson says she was in possession of the money after a customer left a box at her table at the Fryn' Pan Restaurant in Moorhead. She followed the customer to her car to return the box but the woman told her to keep it. Knutson found bundled rolls of cash inside the box.

After discovering the money, she decided to call police and report it. Although she said she has five children and could use the cash.

Officers told the woman to wait 90 days in case someone claimed the money. Richie says after three months, police told Knutson the cash was being held as drug money.

"They initially said they were going to give it to her," said Richie. "Then they said, 'Oh, well, no we had the drug dogs sniff it and we think there's drugs on it and we are going to keep it.'"

Richie says police offered her a $1,000 reward, but she never received it. Knutson then filed a lawsuit in Clay County District Court.

"We argued that most money that you carry in your pocket has drug residue on it," said Richie. "She could've kept the money and nobody would've known. But she said, 'No, I'm going to do the right thing.' So she called police and now integrity has now prevailed."

More on Crimesider:

April 5, 2012 - $12,000 Tip? Waitress turns it in, cops claim it's drug money