MOORHEAD  (AP) - Authorities have decided to return $12,000 to a Minnesota waitress that police had impounded as suspected drug money.

Stacy Knutson of Moorhead says a customer told her she could keep a takeout container she left behind at the Fryin' Pan restaurant. The box turned out to contain $12,000 in bills in various denominations.

Police initially told her she could keep the money if no one claimed it, but later said it was part of a drug investigation.

On Thursday, after the case drew national attention, Assistant Clay County Attorney Michelle Lawson told reporters the money could not be tied to a criminal investigation, and that Knutson would get a check.

Knutson says she believed the money was an anonymous gift from someone who knew her family had severe financial difficulties.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved)