Buried treasure: Workers recover $25,000 accidentally thrown away by family

The story of a priceless recovery

Stock image/Richard Levine
Stock image/Richard Levine (Getty Images)

It’s a good bet that just about all of us have thrown something away on accident.

However, it’s equally likely that few have thrown away an envelope containing $25,000, which is what happened to a family in Ohio a couple of weeks ago, according to ABC News 5 in Cleveland.

On July 28, Republic Services, a waste collection agency in Oberlin, received a frantic phone call from a family in Lorain County, saying they had thrown away something of value.

“It turned out to be $25,000,” said Gary Capan, an operations supervisor, to ABC News 5. “They were cleaning out their house for their grandmother and they cleaned out the refrigerator, threw out all the garbage, grabbed all the freezer stuff and put it in a bag, and then the grandma was like, ‘Hey, there’s an envelope with $25,000 in there, don’t lose that,’ and she’s like, ‘Grandma, I already lost that. It’s in the garbage!’”

From there started the frantic process to recover the money.

The first step was making sure the truck that was carrying the garbage load with the money in it hadn’t been dropped off at the landfill yet.

“What happens when they get to the landfill is, they will come in, they’ll drop off their load of garbage, the bulldozers will immediately start smoothing it out, pushing it into the hill, dropping dirt on it and start covering up the process of the landfill. And we do that in a nonstop process,” Capan said. “If it got dropped there, there’s no finding it anymore.”

The truck hadn’t arrived at the landfill yet, so the driver was told to drop off what was his six-ton load at a recycling center in Oberlin.

From there, 10 employees went to work to find the envelope.

Roughly 10 minutes later, the money was discovered.

“It can be very, very difficult,” said Dan Schoewe, operations manager at the recycling center and the person who found the envelope. “It’s rare that we can find something for somebody. So this is like, the biggest one I’ve seen in 30 years.”

While it was $25,000 that was recovered, the feel-good, happy-ending story that resulted was priceless.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.