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Drivers scramble for cash after armored truck drops money bags on California highway, 2 arrested

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Posted at 11:08 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 13:26:22-05

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Two people were arrested Friday after an armored truck spilled bags of money onto Interstate 5 in Carlsbad, prompting a mad dash by some motorists to collect the loose cash.

At about 9 a.m. local time, an armored truck heading to the Federal Reserve from a local bank dropped two bags of money after a door popped open on northbound I-5 near Cannon Rd.

The cash scattered across the northbound and southbound lanes, causing a massive backup on the northbound side as drivers stopped and parked on the shoulder.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) said several social media videos show people on the freeway picking up the cash and that they are working with the FBI to investigate. CHP said the armored truck driver tried to recover some of the money from lanes but then started videotaping people.

"There is a lot of video evidence of people picking up the cash, so we are going to be following up on every lead that we have," CHP Sgt. Curtis Martin said.

Police released no details about how much money they believed fell from the vehicle.

Martin said police arrested two people after they locked themselves out of their car by accident, leaving lanes of traffic blocked. Martin added that those people were arrested for allegedly taking cash on the roadway, but an investigation is ongoing.

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Chaos erupted on northbound Interstate 5 in Carlsbad on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, after an armored truck dropped bags on cash on the freeway, prompting some motorists to stop and scramble to pick up the loose money.
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Chaos erupted on northbound Interstate 5 in Carlsbad on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, after an armored truck dropped bags on cash on the freeway, prompting some motorists to stop and scramble to pick up the loose money.

"We did arrest two suspects on the scene," Martin said. "Those two suspects accidentally locked their car so it was blocking lanes of traffic, so they were still here when officers got here. So they're in custody."

According to the agency, several people who stopped to pick up the money returned it immediately to CHP. CHP and FBI released a bulletin with photos of individuals they said are being sought for questioning over the incident.

CHP said it could prosecute people for taking the cash and not returning it. They ask anyone who took money from the scene to return it to the CHP's office in Vista within 48 hours or call 858-637-3800 to return it and to avoid potential criminal charges.

This story was originally published by Mark Saunders on Scripps station KGTV in San Diego.