It isn’t unusual to find things in unexpected places overseas. Steering wheels on the right sides of cars, beer on the menu at McDonald’s, dingoes in your campsite.
But authorities are finding valuable items in especially strange places around the world. Apparently our friends in Switzerland are so wealthy, they’re flushing money down the toilet. And you thought your father was merely using a euphemism when yelling at you for leaving the front door open with the air conditioner on.
I take you to Geneva, where backed-up toilets alerted prosecutors to an attempt to destroy $100,000 in currency. The bank notes clogged commodes in a bank and three restaurants in a most unusual attempt to make deposits.
Police don’t care about the motive, as it isn’t illegal to plug a toilet or throw money away. (The latter is good news for those who run the University of Nebraska’s football program.) But authorities would like to know where the money came from, as it consisted of 500-Euro notes. Such amounts are nothing to sniff at, even if they have been shoved in the crapper.
The first blockage occurred in a toilet serving the vault at UBS Bank, according to the Reuters news service. Three nearby bistros found their facilities bunged up a few days later. Talk about being flush with cash.
The notes were confiscated, and police determined that, despite the location of recovery, it wasn’t dirty money. In a related development, the European Central Bank said last year it would discontinue the 500-Euro note because it was being used too often for illicit activities like money laundering. Or, in this case, money toileting.
Who committed this strange act, and why, remains unknown. We can only hope Swiss investigators will start looking for answers in unusual places.
Perhaps they could learn from their counterparts in Sri Lanka, who this week stopped a gold smuggler by searching his rear end. The suspect raised suspicion at the Colombo airport Sunday when customs officials noticed “suspicious movements.” Unpredictable movements are to be expected when one is carrying 2 pounds of gold in one’s rectum.
The 45-year-old was arrested and searched, which is when authorities found gold valued at 4.5 million rupees — or $30,000 — wrapped in four plastic bags. He was freed after paying 100,000 rupees. Why so small a fine for this act of cavity depravity? Sri Lankan officials said this smuggling method is common. Who needs Samsonite when you’re born with an internal carry-on?
Americans have been known to try this trick, too. My nine loyal readers may recall that just a few weeks ago, jailers in Florida found $1,000 in cash inside an inmate. The guy was suspected of speeding and drug possession, and when jail staff rounded up the evidence, the cash was missing. They soon spotted $20 bills spilling out of the inmate’s buttocks.
Perhaps we Americans are more like our friends overseas than we might think. After all, criminals worldwide like to keep valuables not only at their side, but on their insides. And the country whose government pays $7,000 for coffee pots can hardly thumb its nose at anyone who flushes money down the toilet.
We can learn from our neighbors. During crazy times like these … North Korea threatening to nuke us all, superstorms ravaging the globe, President Trump trying to insult every American individually before he’s out of office … wouldn’t it be nice to laugh it off over a beer at McDonald’s?