A Mysterious Discovery
They had no idea it would be so difficult to remove, but the rusted object was no easy contender for the backhoe. What was it?
It took a couple more tries before the chunk of metal was pulled out. The owner had no idea what was inside, but if he did, he would have opened it up a lot sooner.
Love For Their Home
It was a bright morning when Matthew and his family enjoyed breakfast around the kitchen table. They were all looking out into the yard and taking in the view.
They lived on a property in Staten Island, and the lush shrubs and well-kept flower beds added to the love they already had for their home. However, Matthew’s wife had one big problem with where they stayed.
Something To Be Removed
On that morning, in particular, she squinted into the garden while she sipped her coffee. She turned to her husband and asked him, “When are you removing it?”
Matthew knew by now that if he didn’t carefully consider his answer, he would be getting into another fight. “When I next have time,” he said. She huffed and reminded him that he could have done it the day before instead of watching the game. Before he could say anything else, she turned back to the problem. “It’s hideous,” she said.
Trying To Avoid It
They weren’t the first couple to encounter a task that kept getting pushed away. They hadn’t thought much of it at first, considering that there were much larger projects to tackle first.
But once those bigger projects were out of the way, there was no getting away from the task Matthew had to do. He had no idea how Mother Nature could sneak into the situation.
One day, a deer found its way into the family’s yard. It found the lush foliage and started sampling it.
The family realized that the shrubbery had a giant chunk taken out of it. It wasn’t long before they realized that the deer must have loved the taste of it, but this was just the start of the strange occurrences.
A Huge Mess
Matthew tried his best to clean up the mess, but too much was missing. He knew how adamant his wife was about getting it fixed, but the only way to do that was to replace the entire section.
The missing patch became more pronounced in winter, but that was when they found the rusted object. Spring had been fast approaching, and now was when he had to remove the rusted thing.
Calling For Assistance
He decided to call Bob Foley from Touch The Earth Inc. to assist with his backhoe, and he was glad to see how smoothly it cleared out the brush.
That’s when Matthew spotted the odd box in the ground. When he asked Bob about it, Bob told him that it was a power box. “I’m not going to try and remove it. We wouldn’t want to be electrocuted now, would we?”
Not A Power Box
Matthew wasn’t sure if it was a power box. When his wife spotted them outside, she joined them. She was looking forward to their yard looking beautiful again.
Bob decided to investigate further and started by clearing the area surrounding the box. He then tried pulling it out, but the backhoe struggled. However, he did realize something and shared the news with Matthew. “It isn’t a power box,” he said.
Bob wasn’t about to give up, and the motor revved as he tried a second time. Seeing the box come free from the earth was a relief, but they were all shocked to see it resting on the lawn.
His wife seemed the most shocked of all as she turned to her husband. Her eyes were wide as she spoke. “How could you have left that in there for four years?”
The box was weathered on the outside and didn’t look like much from the outside. However, they were surprised to find a number dial on one side of the box.
They were all confused about what the box had inside, and their minds spiraled with ideas. Was there treasure inside? They couldn’t help their curiosity and were eager to see the box’s secrets.
For so many years, the box, which turned out to be a safe, was abandoned above ground in the overgrown backyard of the Emanuel family home.
The safe was roughly two feet across and one-and-a-half feet in height. The safe weighed a hefty 100 pounds. And the contents inside… did not disappoint. One thing was for sure, this safe belonged to someone.
Bob and Matthew couldn’t help but wonder: why had someone buried the safe in their yard? But when the box was finally opened, it produced more questions than answers.
As the rusty old safe was pried open, both Matthew and Bob could not believe their eyes. This safe had incredible valuables inside, and even though water had damaged most of the contents, files and documents were kept safe in a plastic bag.
They knew that none of these things belonged to them. But what were they supposed to do? Although the items in the safe had survived, most of them were badly damaged.
“Can we keep it?” their son asked, already listing the things he wanted to buy. “No,” Matthew said. “It’s not ours.” They soon would uncover a mystery that had been surrounding their community for years, but they did not know that yet.
Whose Is It?
The safe contained tons of stacks of hundred-dollar bills, each bundle about four inches thick! There was also a small transparent zipped bag containing much more.
But still, as he saw the contents in the safe, chills went down his spine. Admittedly, he knew that all this must belong to someone. But who?
Matthew and Bob had stumbled across an absolute real-life treasure. The contents boggled their minds. Even though they had found an amazing once-in-a-lifetime find, they didn’t know the true value of what they had found… yet.
Many of the dollar bills were wet and of no use. Still, the surprises surrounding this incredible discovery were far from over.
Chunks of gold, jade, earrings, jewels, and diamond rings were also hidden within the safe. All in all, the amount that was discovered in the safe was worth about $53,000 altogether.
“We were freaked out,” Bob told Staten Island Live. “It’s something you can’t make up.” But that wasn’t all. There was one more thing that would cause this incredible find to make headlines.
One Piece Of Paper
Inside the sealed plastic bag, they found important documents. One of the documents was a receipt and value for a precious diamond ring. But as they kept searching the safe, the ring was nowhere to be found.
They had found so many valuables, but what was missing was the most important one. Had someone already opened the safe and only taken the ring? But why would they leave everything else behind?
While searching through the documents, they also found a water-damaged owner’s manual for an expensive watch. And that, too, was nowhere to be found.
Matthew and Bob knew that this could not just be a coincidence – it was obvious that the most valuable items were not there. Someone had been in this safe, but who?
As they searched through the safe in awe, they found something that would solve everything. Among the contents of the plastic bag, there was also a note.
When Matthew saw the letter, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Scribbled and handwritten, the note had an address on it. And he knew he had to get answers.
Naturally, he immediately had to find out where this address was. Pulling out his phone, he was incredibly surprised to see that it was right in his own neighborhood.
Little did he know that he was about to get the cops involved. And by doing so, he’d resolve something that had been a mystery for years.
Nervously, he knocked on the door. An elderly woman opened it, but still, Matthew had no idea what he was walking into. A potential crime, maybe?
Matthew went ahead and introduced himself, but instead of asking the woman if the contents of the safe were hers, he asked something else. “I have a strange question for you,” he said. “Have you ever been robbed?” The elderly woman looked at him, puzzled. Then, she said something that set an investigation in motion.
The elderly woman and her husband were robbed in 2011 by the so-called Ninja burglar. The burglar broke into her home after Christmas day when the couple was out of the house. But as soon as they returned home, they knew something was missing – their safe.
Could this possibly be the missing link to the crime? The safe contained essential documents and, of course, incredible treasures that the elderly couple kept dear to their heart. They thought they would never see any of it again, but was stolen safe, the same one that was in Emanuel’s yard.
A Menace To Society
Back in 2011, the neighborhood of Todt Hill was victim to the ruthless burglaries of “The Ninja.” He had gotten that nickname because of how stealthily he robbed houses and prowled the neighborhood as an unseen menace.
For over 10 years, the thief had robbed over 200 homes across Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. 160 of his targets had been right there in Todt Hill, Staten Island, and it said that he stole more than $4 million in cash and goods. But his end was near.
The community was in turmoil, but then in 2015, they caught the “Ninja,” and the residents could breathe easier. Still, this elderly couple never knew that their treasure might come back one day.
The Emanuel family invited the elderly couple to their home to investigate the contents of the safe. Never would they have expected such a rusty box to bring so much joy! As soon as the woman saw the jewelry, she began crying and shaking.
Getting Her Valuables Back
She was overcome with such emotion that she had no words. She immediately hugged Matthew as she still couldn’t believe her prized possessions had been found.
For so many years, she had lived with the trauma of losing her valuables and never imagined the day when they would return to her. The Emanuels returned all of its contents to them, but still, one more thing was left to resolve the mystery, once and for all.
The Cops Show Up
Matthew knew that this had been a criminal investigation, so they all came to the agreement that the police should get involved. Moments later, the police knocked on their door.
To everyone’s surprise, the police officer who attended the call and house visit was the same cop who had investigated the burglaries so many years ago. Things were slowly starting to make sense.
Following The Trail
The police knew the story all too well, and more so, they knew the elderly couple too. No one could believe how a poison ivy-covered “electric cabinet” would come to resolve so many mysteries.
The police set to making sense of everything before them. But although they would connect the dots, not everything would be clear.
There was one thing that did not make sense. The money had been recovered, and some of the jewelry too, but what about the diamond ring and the expensive watch?
As the Ninja Bandit was interrogated regarding the whereabouts of these two pieces, he quickly became nervous. He knew that now, he had to put more than himself in jeopardy.
It turned out the Ninja Burglar was not working alone, and in his absence — while he was in jail — this person was still terrorizing communities.
Police now knew that the thief had an accomplice, and it did not take long for the Ninja to tell them who it was. This person was detained and taken to jail, and it all started with the Emanuel family renovating their backyard.
You never really know what’s hiding on your land, but the Emanuel family brought a ton of happiness to an elderly couple who thought that they had lost their precious valuables so many years ago.
“A couple of people asked us, ‘Why did you return it?’” Matthew’s wife said. “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours.” But still, the family could not have believed their incredible luck. So, to treasure the memory, they put a statue of an elephant for good luck right where the box was buried. “I guess the reward is karma,” Matthew told CBS. “Good karma.”
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.