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Man who found bag of cash and claimed finders-keepers pays back town, felony charge dropped

Open bag of US currency.
spxChrome / Getty Images
Open bag of US currency.

A Connecticut man who found a bag containing nearly $5,000 in cash outside a bank and claimed “finders-keepers” had a criminal charge against him dropped Wednesday after he gave the money back.

Robert Withington, 57, went to Bridgeport Superior Court for a scheduled court hearing, and a state prosecutor informed Withington's lawyer the felony larceny charge was being dropped.

Withington found the bank bag containing $4,761 on May 30 outside a bank in his hometown of Trumbull, near Bridgeport. It turned out the money belonged to the Trumbull tax collector's office, and a town employee had dropped the bag while walking to the bank to deposit the money, police said.

Police said the bag had the bank's name on the outside, and there were deposit slips inside indicating the money belonged to the town, authorities said. A police officer had escorted the town employee to the bank, but neither one noticed the bag being dropped, police said.

Withington, a dog trainer, happened to be near the bank at the time, picked up the bag and drove off, police said. He was identified through surveillance video, according to an arrest warrant. He was arrested on Aug. 25.

Before Wednesday's court appearance, Withington had given the town attorney a bank-certified check in the amount of the missing money.

Withington continues to believe he did not do anything wrong, and blames the town employee for dropping the bag in the first place.

“They dropped the money. Someone from the town should be fired for being so irresponsible,” Withington said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “But I did nothing wrong. I just found a money bag. It was just a big joke. They wasted my time. They slandered my name. It was very upsetting.”

When asked why he did not bring the money bag to the bank, Withington said the thought never entered his mind. He said he would have returned the money immediately if he knew who the owner was. He previously said the discovery was like hitting the lottery.

"I just found a bag," he said Wednesday. "I picked it up and I got in my car and I got on with my day.”

The state prosecutors office declined to comment.

The town attorney, Daniel Schopick, said in an email that restitution was made and it was the prosecutor's decision to drop the case.

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