How a NorCal man, who left $14K on his tire and drove away, got his thousands back

It’s the rare police news release that raises more questions than it answers, but on Wednesday, the Auburn Police Department released a statement that’s nothing short of baffling.

Let’s work backwards: Around 2:40 p.m. that day, a woman named Jill James arrives at the Auburn police station off a tree-lined stretch of Lincoln Way. She carries with her $14,000 in cash, which, good Samaritan that she is, she hands over to officers.

About 20 minutes earlier, the station had received an odd phone call. In it, a man reported that he had lost a large amount of cash on the 600 block of Bowman Way. You should be able to put two and two together at this point in the story.

ALSO: A respected Monterey psychiatrist paid a Playboy model’s rent. He was found dead in the desert.

But here’s where the standard lost-and-found narrative takes a turn: The man who filed the missing money report had set the $14,000 on the tire of his vehicle — an impressive feat considering $14,000 is near-equivalent in cost to a new Kia sedan.

Rather than explain the odd scenario, Auburn police invoked the narrative to ask the public to call the department if they misplace their property, otherwise police have “no way of identifying the rightful owner,” the statement said.

“The Auburn Police Department encourages people to be careful with their belongings,” it continued, “but knows life happens.”

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