MAX money: Rail service workers find a stash of cash!


Truth be told, many of us have left an item behind on a bus or a train, but usually it’s an umbrella, a hat, maybe even an ID card or wallet. Last month, a team of TriMet service workers on the graveyard shift stumbled onto a much bigger find when they were prepping a MAX train–some $10,000 in cash!

The real deal

On May 9, in the overnight hours, and the “sanding team” was checking the sand boxes on the trains, making sure they were filled for the coming week. The sand is used at times to give the train wheels more traction. It’s stored under seats near the cabs of the trains. The group was working like a well-oiled team, moving efficiently through their task like they do every night, until the unexpected happened.

One of the five team members looked under a seat before undoing the latch to the cushion so he could check the sand box underneath. He thought he saw a stack of bills, but thought, “Naw.” Then he opened the seat.

“I was shocked to find it was the real deal, a wad of cash,” he said.

He gathered up the money while the team leader for that night immediately called for their supervisor.

“We found some money and I need you to come out here,” he told his boss.

Adding it up

The guys held up the stacks so the money and their actions could be captured on the security cameras on the train, but there was no hesitation.

“We knew we were going to do the right thing,” said one of the team.  

 “It didn’t look like it was that much, but when we were counting it out it was like, ‘oh wow’ that’s really $10,000,” said the team’s supervisor. “It was mind-blowing.”

While the seat turned out to be quite the stash spot, it was risky.

“I cannot believe someone would ditch money on a train,” said one of the service workers. “Those trains go from Gresham, through Portland to Beaverton and Hillsboro, and then back again. It seems like that’s a bad idea. Anyone could have found it.”  

Missing $10,000? Contact Beaverton Police

Due to the large value, and the fact that the money was clearly hidden away on the train, it didn’t end up going to TriMet’s Lost & Found; rather the police were called and they took the money for safe keeping while trying to identify the owner. They weren’t able to track the money to a specific crime and as of today, no one has claimed the cash. So, if you’re missing $10,000 that you left behind on a MAX train, contact Beaverton Police. However, you may have some explaining to do.

“Integrity first”

The sanding team has been commended for their actions, but even if no one comes forward, they won’t get any of the money. If an owner is never identified, based on the Oregon Revised Statutes found property rules, the money could go into the City of Beaverton’s General Fund. That’s because the Elmonica Rail Operating Facility, where the cash was found, is in Beaverton.

That’s okay with the team. They take a lot of pride in the job they do and their camaraderie on the graveyard shift. Their supervisor is proud of their actions too, not just when it comes to the cas,h but how they work hard every night to get the trains ready for TriMet’s riders.

He quotes the Air Force motto: “Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. These guys really exemplify that,” he said.