KINGMAN — A four-year prison term was imposed Thursday for a Kingman man who found a suitcase full of cash at the local Walmart in 2018.
Jeremiah Peacey, 40, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to theft.
Defense attorney Matthew Argyle said Peacey never set out to steal but conceded that his client did grab the unattended suitcase and took it home. Argyle said Peacey later learned that the suitcase that was accidentally left behind contained almost $170,000 in cash.
“When I found the bag I didn’t even know what was in it,” Peacey told Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle. He said a lot of people dream of an unexpected payday, but that his discovery and temporary enrichment proved to be a nightmare.
“I have to say it was the worst day of my life,” Peacey said.
Argyle said Peacey weathered some stress with worry that he might have intercepted drug money or cash belonging to criminals who might harm him.
Deputy Mohave County attorney Bob Moon said many in the community questioned the Peacey prosecution.
“It’s an unusual case and it has this ‘finders-keepers’ element,” Moon said.
Moon said Peacey should have admitted his involvement and returned the cash when police paid him multiple investigative visits after identifying him as a suspect from Walmart video surveillance. Moon said he believes Peacey has some of the cash stashed somewhere.
“There’s more money hidden out there. There has to be,” Moon said.
Cash and other assets seized in the investigation are valued at $88,340. Peacey has been ordered to pay another $80,035 in restitution.