A Santa Barbara man was detained on Monday after he found a sizable amount of cash on the floor of a Rusty’s Pizza Parlor and failed to return it to its rightful owner.
According to police spokesperson Anthony Wagner, a male patron had just finished his meal at the Rusty’s on lower State Street and was walking out of the restaurant when he dropped a stack of money on the ground. Within moments, surveillance video shows, another man walked by and picked it up. The suspect “nervously looked around” as he sat down to count the cash, said Wagner. He then left the restaurant.
Within a minute, the first man walked back into the Rusty’s to look for his money, and soon after the suspect also returned and observed the other man in the midst of his frantic search. The suspect made no effort to return the money to the distraught man, Wagner said.
The suspect was identified after his photo went out to the public. He could be charged with the crime of misappropriation of found property (485 PC), Wagner implied, giving the Penal Code text: One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft. The matter remains under investigation.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect that the suspect was not charged with the Penal Code violation described in the press release.