By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Rebecca Brown couldn’t believe it: “They literally reached into my pocket and took my dad’s life savings.”

She says the DEA took her dad’s money before she could board her plane to Boston. Hundreds of travelers witnessed it. She said it was embarrassing.

Her father, 79-year-old Terry Rolin, is a retired railroad engineer. He’s saved money most of his life and stashed it in his home. But the family decided that it was too much money to leave laying around.

“This was the decision we came up with as a family. That this was gonna work best for my dad – who does not have dementia, but is easily worked up. He’s 79 years old,” Brown said.

In August, she says she was taking the $82,000 back to Boston to put it in the bank, but that 82 grand never got past security.

A non-profit group known as the Institute for Justice is suing to get the money back.

They say the DEA does this all the time.

“We think this is an unconstitutional seizure of the cash,” said Dan Alban from the Institute for Justice. “It’s based solely on the fact that Rebecca was carrying a lot of cash. Having a lot of cash is not a crime.”

And there’s no other evidence of a crime.

“I have no drug history. My father doesn’t have any history,” Brown said.

“You can’t just reach into someone’s pocket and take their hard-earned cash. This is money that has already been taxed. This isn’t money from making meth in the bathroom. This is my dad’s railroad pension.”