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Kids’ Loot Baffles Cops

February 8, 1985

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ No one has claimed the $19,012 a 14-year-old boy had buried near his home and passed out to friends at school, but police say they aren’t looking too hard for the owner because no crime has been reported.

″We don’t plan to go out and solicit people to claim this money,″ said Escambia County Sheriff’s Lt. Joel Mooneyham.

Deputies recovered $2,462 from students Wednesday after Ransom Middle School authorities found out the kids were carrying wads of $20, $50 and $100 bills. The youth who passed out the money said he had taken it from a ″family member″ and showed officers where he had buried another $16,450 in a yellow plastic pitcher, Mooneyham said Thursday.

Deputies haven’t talked to the family member and don’t plan to ″at this time″ because no crime has been reported, he said. He refused to identify the person or his relationship to the youth, but indicated it wasn’t either parent. Mooneyham said if the money isn’t claimed it would go to the sheriff’s department under the state’s ″finders-keepers″ law.

The youngster wouldn’t be able to get it back because he had admitted it wasn’t his, he said.″He voluntarily turned the money over to us.″

The boy had passed out the cash to seven other students ″because they were his friends,″ said Deputy Bill Lewis, a narcotics officer.

″He hasn’t violated any law as far as we know,″ Mooneyham said. But, he added, ″He may be in trouble with his parents.″

Anyone claiming the money would be questioned by the Internal Revenue Service as well as lawmen, said Lt. Donn Parker, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department.

Mooneyham said the youngsters who had received the money had spent very little of it.

″A little 11-year-old kid had a bulge in his pocket, pulled out a wad and said, ’Here’s my $800,‴ Lewis said.

-08-85 0500EST

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