Matthew Emanuel experienced what would be universally defined as a once-in-a-lifetime dream come true. One can only suppose how unimaginable it would be to unearth a treasure box hidden right in the backyard of your home, but that’s just what happened to the Staten Island resident.
This was an average sunny day, and Emanuel was determined to take initiative and finish up some garden work. The bottoms of the trees on his property had been chewed up by deer, so he’d decided it was time to replace them with bamboo. “With the heavy snow we got this winter, a lot of them were falling down, they were top-heavy,” he explained to the Staten Island Advance.
A large receptacle made from metal, which was covered in rust, was buried behind bushes along his fence. Emanuel had noticed this strange object sitting stagnant behind the trees during his four years as a proprietor but assumed it was just an old cable box, according to ABC News. “I thought it had something to do with electricity or something,” Emanuel admitted to the Advance. As contractors began working, they offered their services, asking if he needed help prying the box open. Before they attempted anything, he tried shaking it but couldn’t hear anything. Once they unbolted the case, they discovered it was, in fact, a safe, and they were shocked.
What they found was roughly $21,000 worth of treasure. Jewelry, diamonds and soggy stacks of one-hundred-dollar bills filled the long-forgotten container. I thought we found a buried treasure,” he told the Advance. “We were freaked out,” he said. “It’s something you can’t make up.” He estimated the value of the articles was around $16,000, and the cash could be somewhere around $5,000. “It was unbelievable,” he told ABC News. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Emanuel also spotted a small case locked amidst the treasure. Though there was no name on it, there was an address. After doing some research online, Emanuel discovered that the address in question belonged to a building in Brooklyn, which was owned, coincidentally, by a couple that lived just a few doors down from his place.
“We realized it must have been them, so Monday morning I walked on over to their house and knocked on their door,” Emanuel said to the Advance. “I asked them if they’d ever been robbed.” Shockingly, they shared the story of a person they’ve dubbed the “ninja burglar,” that had managed to rip the safe from their wall seven years back. When they called the police, the thief ran away. His neighbours and the police investigating at the time thought they’d lost their belongings forever.
In Emanuel’s opinion, the robber must have tossed the box over the fence and bolted, he told ABC News. “They were pretty stunned,” he said of their reaction when he told them the news of his findings. Emanuel rightfully returned the newfound riches to their original family and called it a day. This story, though shockingly coincidental, really proves that just about anything can happen.