As kids, most of us have played pirates searching for buried treasure, but what do you do when you actually find some? Matthew and Maria Emanuel were in the unique position of discovering buried treasure in their yard. Let’s see how they handled the discovery.

A Nondescript Metal Box

Source: DailymailUK/Matthew Emmanuel

When Matthew and Maria bought their house, it was the perfect suburban home. Most of the yard was in pristine condition, but an unsightly metal box was sticking out of the backyard. Matthew figured it was just some sort of infrastructure for the house and left it alone.

Based on the look of the box, which was sticking out of the earth in the backyard, it’s easy to mistake it for an electrical installation. As time passed, the box stood out more as the deer ate away the trees and shrubs covering it.

Not An Electrical Box, After All

Source: CNN/WCBS

Being a savvy homeowner, Matthew decided to leave the “electrical box” alone since he likely didn’t have the tools to deal with it. The couple eventually hired Bamboo Bob to remodel their backyard, and that’s when the landscapers changed how they saw the box.

The contractors told the couple that it wasn’t part of the house’s electrical infrastructure. It wasn’t even a part of the lawn. Whoever buried the box didn’t put it too deeply. With the seasons washing away the top layers of the yard, the box slowly came into view.

Taking The Box Out Of The Lawn

Source: LifeBuzz

The contractors helped the couple extract the box from the lawn, but even then, it wasn’t evident that it was a metal safe. Matthew and Maria eventually noticed some telltale signs of locks and hinges, suggesting that there might be something inside the box.

Realizing they had something unique, they found a locksmith to bust open the safe. To their surprise, when the safe was opened, there were several things that neither of them ever thought to see in their lifetime. They discovered rolls of bills, jewelry, and diamonds.

Definitely Not a Pirate Treasure

Source: Flickr/mags20_eb

The couple sorted through the findings and realized that many of the things they had found were not ancient. They were barely old, and the money’s printing was pretty recent, meaning that the safe wasn’t the remnant of some long-dead pirate.

“Hundreds and jewelry, diamonds, engagement rings, dozens of rings, gold with jade. It was stunning… I just kept peeling more hundreds and more hundreds,” Matthew noted. But whose money was it, and what was it doing in their yard? There was a mystery to be solved here.

Estimating The Worth Of the Treasure

Source: Flickr/leigh49137

The couple sorted the find, putting aside precious stones, jewelry, and money into separate piles. The piles quickly grew, and when they checked the total value of what they’d found, it was more money than they had ever expected to come from what Matthew had thought was an electrical box.

Estimates of the total value hovered around $50,000. However, among the assorted money, jewels, and stones, there was a handwritten note. When they unfurled the note, they were surprised to read an address in their very neighborhood. Quickly, they investigated this new information.

A Daring Robbery In The Past

Source: Flickr/gfairchild

In 2011, the owners of a house in the neighborhood reported a robbery to the New York Police Department. According to the report lodged with the police department, an entire safe was lifted from the residence. The estimated value was around $52,000.

For a while, the police chased leads, which all seemed to run cold. Eventually, the police gave up on finding any information that could lead to recovering the stolen goods. They advised the homeowners that they would probably never see their valuables again.

The Emanuels Bring Hope To The Homeowner

Source: Flickr/Nick Carter

When Matthew and Maria tracked down the address to their neighborhood, they knocked on the door. Before explaining their find, they asked the homeowner whether they had been robbed in the past. The homeowner casually mentioned the robbery in 2011, giving them more leads to follow.

The couple verified the report with the police and returned to the homeowner, letting them know the details of the find. Matthew states that as they went into detail about their find, the owner of the home was shaking. It was then that he realized he’d found the true owner of the buried treasure.

What Could Have Happened?

Source: CNN/WCBS

A safe is not a very easy thing to get away with, especially one that’s shaped like a large metal box. One of the theories about how the box ended up in the Emanuels’ yard stems from how easy it was to just stash the box there after robbing the house.

The box was probably dropped into a shallow pit. The burglars may have considered that they could come back for the box at their convenience. However, they left the box there for whatever reason, and the elements weathered away the area around it to reveal the safe.

The Emanuels Return the Safe to Its Owners

Source: Moneysavingmom

Satisfied with the homeowner’s description of what was in the safe, they returned it to the rightful owners. The owners, naturally, were surprised and grateful that they got back their belongings. It was a happy ending to a traumatic incident that marred their life for years.

Many people asked the Emanuels why they even bothered to return the safe. Maria quickly pointed out, “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours.” The couple erected an elephant statue to mark the spot the safe occupied in their yard. It serves to remind them about the find and their role in returning it.

What Would You Do?

Source: Wikimedia/Muhammad Abdullah Iftikhar

The world is a harsh place, and finding buried treasure usually means a windfall for the finder. Most people may not have thought twice about tracking down the owner as this couple did. They would have just taken the windfall as their good luck in buying the property.

Many people out there look out for their fellow human beings. Returning something to its owners has its own benefits, including the gratefulness of the owners. While the couple didn’t get a reward, they weren’t even looking for one. They just did it because it was the right thing to do.