A man being chased by police tossed a paper bag containing almost $68,000 into an incinerator chute early Monday - then insisted that the money wasn't his, authorities said.

Two officers in the University Heights section of Manhattan saw a taxi heading the wrong way down a street at about 12:30 a.m. and, fearing the driver was being robbed, tried to stop the cab, said police Sgt. Edward Burns.A passenger carrying a paper bag bolted out of the cab's back seat with the officers in pursuit, Burns said.

The man threw the bag into a first floor incinerator chute - and when the officers retrieved it, they found $67,900 in cash inside, he said.

Miguel Cedeno, 21, claimed the money was not his and was not charged with any crime, Burns said.

"He disclaimed any ownership of it," Burns said. "If he claims it's not his, he doesn't have to tell you where he got it."