Speed Reads

a needle in a haystack

Sanitation workers find envelope containing $25,000 that was accidentally thrown away

A team of sanitation workers managed to do what seemed impossible: They reunited an Ohio family with an envelope containing $25,000 that had been hidden in a freezer and accidentally thrown in the garbage.

Late last month, a woman called Republic Services, a solid waste collection agency in Oberlin, and said while cleaning out her grandmother's house, she tossed everything that had been in the refrigerator and freezer. Her grandmother later warned her not to get rid of the $25,000 in the freezer, but it was too late — the trash had already been collected.

Gary Capan, a Republic operations supervisor, told News 5 Cleveland he immediately put together a team to track down the driver and find out if he'd already been to the landfill. They were able to intercept him, and he instead dropped off six tons of trash at a recycling center, where its operations manager, Dan Schoewe, took over. Knowing how upset the family was, he got a crew of 10 workers to start digging through the garbage, and after just 10 minutes, Schoewe spotted the thick envelope in a trash bag. 

When the family learned the money had been found, they were relieved and appreciative, tearing up when they came to pick up the envelope. It's not easy to search for treasure in tons of trash, Schoewe told News 5 Cleveland, and it is very rare to actually find what you're looking for. "It makes us feel good here," he said, adding, "We're just glad to help."