Man thinks rusty old box in backyard Is junk – then he opens it and realizes it holds lost treasure

When it’s time to do major yard work, most people probably don’t expect to find much beyond maybe some lost gardening equipment, a weasel or perhaps an underground pipe they didn’t know about.

But when Matthew and Maria Emanuel went to replace some old trees in their backyard, they found something that stopped them in their tracks.

Maria and Matthew had lived in their home on Staten Island, New York for four years when they decided to change the foliage along their property line. They made a plan and looked forward to seeing the results. But by the time the old trees were pulled out, they had already experienced the shock of their lives.

The couple got local arborist Bamboo Bob to remove the old trees along the fence line and replace them with bamboo trees. But before Bob could finish the job, something completely unexpected appeared.

Behind where the old trees had been lay a rusty old metal box. It had been hidden almost in plain sight for years!

The couple initially thought it was an old electrical box, and they could never have expected what it contained inside.

Curious, they opened the metal box and couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw its contents.

It wasn’t a metal box, but a safe. They had stumbled upon a hidden treasure trove!

“There are all these bags with hundreds and jewelry, diamonds, engagement rings, dozens of rings, gold with jade,” Matthew tells CBS News.

Photo: CBS News

Maria and Matthew immediately felt that the treasure should go to its rightful owners, and finding them was much easier than expected. The safe happened to contain a note with the names and address of the owners — their next door neighbors!

Matthew didn’t quite know how to tell them and chose to approach things calmly.

“First, I knocked on the door and I asked them if they were ever robbed and they said they were,” Matthew says.

According to CBS, the police registered a robbery in the house — back in 2011. At that time, the couple was told not to expect to see their belongings again. But when the contents of the safe were reviewed, everything was there. All told, the rediscovered property was worth $52,000.

The neighbors were obviously happy to get their things back — and they were especially grateful that Maria and Matthew handed over their safe without even thinking of keeping it.

They didn’t receive any compensation for their discovery, but Matthew says they received a big reward.

“I guess the reward is karma. Good karma,” he says.

See more about the incredible story in the clip below:

What a story! How great is it to see that there are people like Matthew and Maria out there! They did the right thing and didn’t care about getting a reward but were just happy that the treasure got back to its right owners. Share to pay tribute to this couple’s wonderful deed.