Lincoln Journal – Tuesday, April 23, 1974
FBI probe yields no explanation of unusual currency found after hit-and-run accident in North Platte
More questions than answers have surfaced during the FBI’s investigation concerning $5 million in an unknown currency found last week in a wrecked vehicle.
Some North Platte residents were awakened late Friday night, April 19th by a loud crash, when a converted school bus hit a tree in a normally quiet neighborhood adjoining U.S. Highway 83. The vehicle had been abandoned by the time Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies arrived. Failed brakes were determined to be a factor in the accident, said Deputy Glen Skoka.
Authorities are referring to the volumes of paper currency found within the bus as “hippie money,” because it is covered with “hippie type, counter-culture symbols and slogans,” said Skoka.
Initially, authorities suspected the bills were counterfeit and notified the Lincoln office of the Secret Service Agency. Once agents were satisfied there was no attempt to counterfeit U.S. government currency, the investigation was turned over to the FBI late Friday.
The driver, who upon arrest would face charges for leaving the scene of an accident, has not yet been apprehended.
Fingerprint evidence collected from the vehicle and from the boxes of currency has not yet yielded the identities of those involved. “It is possible that the individuals involved are quite young as their fingerprints have not been found in our criminal files,” said FBI spokesman, Edward Manning.
Documents found inside the vehicle yielded New York and California addresses, Manning said. The bus was registered in Ulster County, N.Y., under a fictitious name.
“It is not clear what all this (money) was intended for. It just doesn’t make sense,” Manning said. He speculates that the “money” was part of some sort of covert plan. What that plan could be is the main question the FBI is still seeking to answer, he said.
Authorities in those states were notified but investigations as yet have not yielded any suspects. Probes there are ongoing, he said.