Two Salt Lake men weren't exactly sure what it was they saw fall out of an open side door of an armored car Monday afternoon. But when another car hit the package and paper bills started flying, they quickly ran to gather them up.
And after Brad Pyne and Curtis Dye had gathered up all that they could from the intersection of Fourth South and West Temple, they jumped back into their car and sorted out their find - $26,065 worth of food stamps."We had 401 coupons worth $65 each. We didn't know what to do," Pyne said. "We had some thoughts about going out and buying some groceries."
But instead, they called the Brink's Inc. armored car service, which quickly met the men at one of their apartments. "They were really happy when they finished counting the stamps," Pyne said. All of the food stamps that fell from the car had been accounted for.
"There was some temptation when we could go into a store and get just about anything you want," he said. Both are University of Utah students and could have used the stamps. But their consciences - and a warning on the stamps themselves about penalties for illegal use - helped them make the honest decision.
When contacted by the Deseret News, Brink's Inc. would not comment, other than to say there had been no loss. "We're just in good shape," said George George, sales account executive with the company.
But while the armored car company may have been relieved, others were very concerned.
"That's a major screwup. We guard those things like Fort Knox," said Terry Twitchell, public information officer with the Department of Social Services.
"The reason we use armored car companies is for protection and safety of the stamps because they are the same as cash. We don't just throw them in the back of pickup trucks," said Gene Hofeling, eligibility coordinator with the Social Services office of assistance payments. "This is distressing."
Hofeling praised the two men for their honesty and admitted that it probably could have been easy for them to either purchase food with the stamps or sell them. While recipients of food stamps are required to display an identification card of eligibility when they make purchases, not all stores ask to see it.
"We'll be in touch with the armored car company," he said.