Couple finds neighbor's stolen safe from 7 years ago buried inside their yard

This couple had been doing some landscaping when they made a rather unexpected discovery under the earth. 

Matthew and Maria Emmanuel had decided to remove the remaining arborvitae trees that had been destroyed by deer in the area. As they were digging up the ground around the trees, they hit something metal. 

As reported by Staten Island Advance, the couple originally thought they had hit an electric box. But when they pulled it up and turned it over, they realized it was a safe. 

The landscapers offered to help them open the safe, and when they pried it open they discovered a virtual treasure trove inside. There were bags stuff with diamonds, gold, and jade, and more that had wads of $100 notes in them. 

"I thought we found buried treasure," Matthew said. "We were freaked out," he said. "It's something you can't make up."

Matthew and Maria started counting the money in the safe. Unfortunately, some of it was in the form of unsalvageable wet chunks. What they could save amounted to R16,300. 

All told, the valuables inside the safe amounted to a whopping $52,000! 

But something else they found inside the safe led them to be able to identify the owners. On a particular piece of paper inside was an address nearby, belonging to one of their neighbors. 

So the following Monday, Matthew went to the neighbor's house, and asked the couple if they had ever been robbed. It turned out they had, the day after Christmas back in 2011. 

Matthew told them what he had found in his garden, and took the wife back to his house to show her. 

"She was like shaking and hugging me," he said. 

"It was exciting to find a treasure in your house," Maria said. "A couple of people asked us, ‘Why did you return it?’ It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours. We bought this elephant and said let's keep it there. It's a good luck spot." 

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