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Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 10:24 GMT
Canada cop keeps $1m find

Vancouver Is the original owner somewhere in Vancouver?


A Vancouver city police officer has become a millionaire after a judge ruled he could keep a bag of money he found in a city park.

Police Constable Mel Millas, 34, was off duty and walking his dog, Gus, in April when the dog began barking at a rubbish bin. Mr Millas looked inside and found a backpack stuffed with more than one million Canadian dollars (US$680,000).

He called police, who seized the cash and backpack. But when they failed to identify who the money belonged to, Mr Millas filed a claim to keep it.

An elated Mr Millas, who is married with a baby, told reporters he had no plans to give up his job, but was going to reward Gus with a large piece of meat.


Mel Millas Mr Millas has no plans to leave the police force
However, the policeman will not be able to spend his Christmas windfall quite yet.

Judge Carol Baird-Ellan ruled that he would have to wait six years, in case the true owner came forward.

An unperturbed Mr Millas said he could wait, but admitted he was not sure what he would do with his new found wealth.

"I've got to talk to people who know how these things work, I haven't a clue," he told provincial radio after the ruling.

Meanwhile, he is looking into whether he can spend the interest the money will earn.

Publicity about the case prompted several unsuccessful claims of ownership, the most determined of which came from a man who argued he did not legally have to tell the public his name and was identified in court documents only as Mr X.

The man also argued that he did not have to disclose whether the money had resulted from illegal activities, and his lawyer indicated he might appeal.

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