"Hidden Cash" Safety Concerns After Public Frenzy

The HiddenCash Twitter account posted a message early Friday morning stating it would "take time in the next several weeks to figure out how to best move forward in a way that keeps @hiddencash fun and safe."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A social media scavenger hunt made its way to Los Angeles and brought crowds of Angelenos into the streets of Burbank Thursday night in search of cash-filled envelopes. Jane Yamamoto reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, May 29, 2014.

    Is the "Hidden Cash" scavenger hunt going on hiatus?

    After a frenzy erupted in Burbank Thursday night, with crowds rushing bus stops and grassy knolls to find an envelope full of cash and creating what police described as a traffic nightmare, the person behind the @HiddenCash Twitter account posted a lengthy message just after midnight Friday morning.

    In the message, the person behind @HiddenCash details how the project started and what contributed to the success of the movement, but advised followers to participate in the search with caution. The note also stated that @HiddenCash would "take time in the next several weeks to figure out how to best move forward in a way that keeps @hiddencash fun and safe."

    Hidden Cash Frenzy Hits Los Angeles

    [LA] Hidden Cash Frenzy Hits Los Angeles
    The social media scavenger hunt driven by the mysterious “Hidden Cash” Twitter account has officially arrived in Los Angeles, as residents are kept guessing about the whereabouts of the latest cash drop. Mekahlo Medina reports from Glendale for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 29, 2014.

    It is unclear whether that statement means the "hidden cash" scavenger hunt that awards lucky Twitter followers with envelopes of money if they successfully follow the clues posted online would be put on hold.

    Around 9 p.m. Thursday, @HiddenCash had tweeted that all the cash for the night had been found and told followers to "Go home. Be safe. Be happy. More fun tomorrow."

    The @HiddenCash movement was started by a person described as a successful real estate investor who began by hiding money in different cities in Northern California after having dinner with a friend on May 22. The two had tried to come up with a fun way for the philanthropist to give back to the community, and decided to hide money in a few spots in San Francisco and tweet about it, according to the statement posted Friday morning.

    "What was originally meant to be a pay-it-forward scavenger hunt for San Francisco, has become much bigger than San Francisco and more than a scavenger hunt. The worldwide interest that has been spawned is tremendous, and though personally surprising, in some ways it is understandable," the online statement said.

    The @HiddenCash movement arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday, with a man named Ken Dellinger finding an envelope with $250 at the William Mulholland Memorial Fountain in Los Feliz. It continued Thursday with three envelopes left at the Burbank Empire Center. A 14-year-old girl found an envelope with $210, a man found $135 outside a restaurant and another man found $200 in a trash can.

    The person behind @HiddenCash believes the project struck a chord with the public because "everyone likes free cash," "many people enjoy a real world scavenger hunt," those who don't go on the hunt "enjoy following the excitement and positive stories of people participating and so often paying it forward" and because "this is a fun way for people to come together."

    @HiddenCash stated that they would like to keep the movement going, urging participants to "walk and drive safely."

    "A young woman ran right in front of my car a few days ago. I will do my best to pick locations that are safe, but please use common sense and caution," the statement said.

    The statement concluded with a reminder that the person behind @HiddenCash would be making a "big announcement," one the generous donor implied would be pleasing to his audience.

    "There really is no agenda here - not political, not business, not religious - other than bringing people together in a positive way and bringing a smile to people's faces. And, in some cases, happy tears, like the teenage girl tonight who is sending the money she found to her sick grandmother in Mexico," the statement read. "We want to encourage people to be kind, to be generous, and to pay it forward. For those who started similar movements in other cities and countries around the world, we salute you."

    As of Friday morning, the @HiddenCash Twitter account had more than 324,000 followers.