It’s not often that I run across such a prime example of abuse of power, coveting someone else’s possessions, and outright theft:

A Pine Lawn officer found the cash when he arrested Smith on suspicion of drunken driving April 28.

Back at the police station, Mayor Wright observed as police counted the money, according to the official report.

“Wright stated that he would like to purchase the previously mentioned $1,000 bill as a novelty item, as few people have ever had the opportunity to see a bill in that denomination,” the report said.

Wright went to the St. Louis Community Credit Union and withdrew 10 $100 bills, the report explained. Police switched the money and deposited it in an account for seized drug assets.

The city issued Smith a check for $3,231 to cover the $1,000 bill plus his other cash.

Yes, you read that right. The mayor of Pine Lawn stole a collectible bill from a person who was ultimately never charged with drug dealing. The bill would have been considered evidence. What is a politician doing in personal possession of evidence — buying evidence?

And if the bill is no longer evidence, why won’t they give it back? These bills are very rare and have a collector’s value considerably above the face value, therefore it isn’t just some random paper currency.

I’m really pissed off about this. I intend to contact the Pine Lawn, MO Mayor’s office and the Police Chief. If you would also like to do so, you can find the information here.

Of further interest is the fact that Pine Lawn has apparently been the scene of a variety of other forfeiture law thefts in times past, as reported by the Drug Policy Alliance and F.E.A.R., and as indicated by this report of a local Pine Lawn citizens’ protest, which details the transgressions.

I have been trying to obtain access to the original articles by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (“Hooked On the Drug War”) but may have to go to the library for that. If anyone can provide additional information, I’d be grateful.

UPDATE:

A man’s treasured $1,000 bill was returned by police who swapped it for more common currency at the mayor’s request after the trucker was arrested.

Pine Lawn officials gave no explanation for returning the note, which Smith got from a banker friend 20 years ago. But the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office said earlier the city’s keeping of the note created the appearance of impropriety.

Uh huh. What do you wanna bet they got a whole lotta complaints from people on the internet after this story appeared on the AP wire and on Fark.com? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to Melinda for finding this follow up.

4 Responses to “City Mayor Steals Man's $1,000 Bill”
  1. Melinda says:

    I guess he got it back. Justice prevails..

  2. Melinda says:

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=816&ncid=816&e=3&u=/ap/20040124/ap_on_re_us/thousand_dollar_bill

  3. Rebecca says:

    Personally, this is ridiculous. People like this shouldn’t even be in power. Being a mayor gives you no right to other people’s personal property. It’s unconstitutional.

  4. ryan says:

    this is a crock of shit. just because he is the mayor he can buy anything he dam well please. I think the cops that sold it to him should of been charged with tampering with evidence.

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