Man Finds Safe Buried In Yard, Gives It Away When He Looks Inside

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Surprising Discovery

The object should have been removed easily. But when the backhoe scraped against the rusty metal it just wouldn’t budge.

The earth gave way and they finally managed to pull the rusted object out onto the lawn. The owner would never have left it to rust in the ground for four years if he had known what its origin was.

Staten Island

Twitter // Matthew EmanuelMatthew woke up and made his way downstairs, he sat down at the kitchen table and had breakfast with his family. It was a sunny morning and they were admiring the view of their lawn just outside.

The family loved their house on Staten Island. They worked hard to keep their garden looking gorgeous. They had green shrubbery and vibrant flower beds. But the wife of the family found one problem with the yard.


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While her husband admired the yard she sipped her morning tea and asked: “When are you going to take it out?”

“When I have time,” he replied, hoping they wouldn’t fight about it again “You had time to watch the game yesterday,” she replied while rolling her eyes. “It’s not hurting anything.” Another glare. “It’s so ugly.”

Out Of Excuses

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It’s inevitable that every couple will have their argument about some task that one of them (normally the husband or boyfriend) never gets around to. It could be a small task but it will still cause irritation.

Now that the family was happy about every other aspect of their home, Matthew knew that he was out of excuses. What he was unaware of was that mother nature had a plan of her own.

Gentle Guest


One day the family had a surprising guest – a deer made its way into their yard to feast on their well-maintained foliage.

The shrubs they had at the very back must have been especially delicious since the deer took full advantage of the situation and in only the span of a few days, huge piece of the shrugs were gone. This deer set the family on the path to discovering a great secret.


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Matthew assessed the damage and knew he couldn’t save the lawn. He’d have to replace it all. If he didn’t get around to it his wife wouldn’t make him sleep on the couch but more likely the lawn!

Things only declined as winter made its way through Staten Island and ruined their garden. Now the artifact was only half-buried and more visible. When spring finally rolled around Matthew knew he had no choice but to take the object out.

Call Professionals


Matthew made the call. He got Bob Foley to came around to his property with his backhoe to clear the lawn. He was from Touch the Earch Inc. and had experience doing this for a living.

“What about this?” Matthew asked, examining the old rusty box. Bob looked over and asked it was maybe a power box. The two men didn’t need to be electrocuted of all things.

Bigger Than Expected


“Not sure,” he said. “Maybe.” Then Matthew’s wife decided to come out and have a look too. She was just happy to see it gone from her lawn.

Bob used his backhoe to clear a good deal of space around the object. But when he was ready to pull it out, it was bigger than he had initially thought. “It’s not a power box.”

Four Years

Twitter // Matthew Emanuel

Not one to give up on the job, Bob tried again, revving the engine higher this time. After a bit of careful maneuvering, he managed to pull the box out.

Matthew’s wife looked over and berated him, “Oh my god! I can’t believe you let that sit out here for four years! I told you!”


Matthew Emanuel

The couple had initially thought it was an old rusted box with no other significance. It was clear it had been there for a long time, but once they turned it so the side that was in the ground was visible, they could see a dial!

All three of them stared in amazement, each thought of what could be inside. Money? Jewelry? Gold? Anything was possible. But if they wanted to know what was inside the mysterious safe they’d first have to pry it open.

Secrets Inside


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.


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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?

Matthew Emanuel

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 Emanuel

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?

More Mysteries


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?

The Search


As they searched through the safe in awe, they found something that would solve everything. In amongst 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.

Ninja Thief


The elderly woman and her husband had been 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?



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. 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 one day, their treasure might come back.

Mystery Solved


The Emanuel family invited the elderly couple to their home to investigate the contents in 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.

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 surprise, the police officer who attended the call and house visit was the same cop who had investigated the burglaries so many years ago. 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.

One Question

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Still, 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.​


NY Daily News

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​.

Good Karma


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.”