Robberies are extremely common around the world and affect a large number of people. Being robbed can be highly traumatic, especially when the robber has taken valuable or symbolic items. While losing money is never easy, there are many things that are more valuable to the person being robbed.
Unfortunately, a large number of robberies involve the victim losing items that cannot be replaced. This includes engagement rings, jewelry that belonged to a deceased family member, very rare gems, etc. It is hard to believe there are people heartless enough to steal items that their victims cherish most simply for the sake of money, but alas, it’s the world we live in.
In 2007, Staten Island had a problem with constant robberies in the area. With over 160 robberies total, Staten Island residents began referring to this robber as the “Ninja Robber” or the “Ninja Bandit.” They gave him these nicknames because he robbed people’s houses dressed as a ninja.
Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emanuel are a married couple that have lived in Staten Island for four years. When they found “treasure” in their back yard, their lives changed forever. No one could believe the crazy story that unfolded after they discovered $52,000 worth of valuables.
This couple’s story sounded very familiar to many people. When we are young, we dream of finding hidden treasures buried beneath the surface. We would imagine finding a big, wooden treasure chest that was glowing with gold and colorful gems. While most people never get to experience this, some people do end up lucky enough to find smaller treasures throughout life.
Matthew and Maria were a couple of the lucky ones that actually brought this childhood fantasy to life when they uncovered what Matthew claims to have been a “stunning” site. Although they were lucky to have found this treasure, it wasn’t exactly what they had expected.
Life is constantly throwing us surprises. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad, and sometimes they are a little bit of both at the same time. For Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emanuel, life threw them an extremely bittersweet surprise.
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Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emanuel had lived in their house in Staten Island for four years upon making the discovery. They love the area they live in and have made a long-time home for themselves. Just when they thought they knew the area like the back of their hand, they found out they were horribly wrong.
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Matthew and Maria always knew that they had some sort of box within the trees of their back yard. They never questioned it as they just believed that it was some sort of electrical box. It wasn’t until they decided to investigate that they found out what it really was.
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Matthew had noticed that the wild animals had chewed away at all of their trees in the backyard. When there were no leaves left, the couple decided to hire a landscaper and have the trees removed. This was when things got interesting for Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emanuel.
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When the landscaper removed the trees in the Emanuel’s backyard, he noticed the box himself and had to move it so that it would not get in the way of re-planting shrubbery. When he brought the box to the couple’s porch, they realized that it was not in fact a box.
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At a closer glance, the couple realized this “box” that had been sitting in their backyard for 4 years was actually an old rusty safe. They were hesitant to open it as they were not sure what would be inside. When they did, their lives changed forever.
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As Matthew and Maria opened the old rusty safe, they immediately knew that they had found a safe filled with treasure. Just when they thought they had seen it all, they kept finding more and more valuables worth thousands of dollars. Then, they discovered that things weren’t what they seemed.
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As they picked apart the smelly, damp treasures from the safe, they continued to unload hundred dollar bills, gold, rings, gems and more. Once they had seen everything in the safe, they realized it contained over $52,000 worth of valuables. What they found next was absolutely mind blowing.
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After pulling apart the wet hundred dollar bills to dry out, they found a suspicious piece of paper. When they looked closer, they noticed it had an address written on it. Realizing they may be able to find the owner, they investigated. They could not believe what they discovered.
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When Matthew and Maria set out to find the address written on the piece of paper, they realized it was actually their neighbor’s address. As soon as they realized this, they headed over to their neighbor’s home to explain the situation and ask questions. They never could have expected what came next.
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The couple approached their neighbors and asked if they had ever been robbed. Their neighbors replied claiming that they actually had been robbed years ago. They then proceeded to make a report about the safe and the police stated that their neighbors had in fact reported a stolen safe years ago.
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Their neighbors were overwhelmed with joy. Goodnewsnetwork.org reported, “According to the NYPD, the neighbors had filed a report for a stolen safe back in 2011 that had contained $52,000 in valuables. Officers also told the neighbors that they would most likely never see their property ever again.”
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Matthew and Maria told reporters that their neighbors were actually shaking because they were so overjoyed to have their safe returned to them. Add in the fact that police had told them they would never see their valuables again, and it made the discovery all the more shocking for the neighbors.
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Maria said that the woman she returned the safe to could not stop hugging her and it just filled her with joy. The couple was ecstatic to bring so much happiness to this family. No one could have expected such an incredible event to happen to them.
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Apparently, the neighbors claimed that they are almost positive the safe was stolen by the “Ninja Burglar.” This was a man who was convicted for over 160 crimes in the area around the same time their safe was stolen. They never could have expected their precious safe to be right next door all these years.
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Many people say that the neighbors should have rewarded Matthew and Maria because they could have easily kept the valuables for their own benefit. While the couple was not rewarded for returning the safe, Maria’s and Matthew’s comments on the matter prove give a strong sense of the kind of good people they are.
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Maria reported that everyone was asking her why they returned the safe to their neighbors. Maria told everyone she didn’t even think twice about it. She said, “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours.” Matthew had a wonderful response to the question as well.
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When reporters asked Matthew if they got a reward for returning the safe, he had a very heartfelt response. Matthew said, “Not yet. But I think the reward is karma- good karma.” Matthew and Maria are clearly wonderful, selfless people and their neighbors greatly appreciate that.
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Now, an elephant statue stands in the place of the old rusty safe to honor the amazing experience that they got to be a part of. Although the couple did not receive any physical reward, they gained the gift of knowing that they helped this family out.
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If we can take anything from this story, it is that things are not always what they seem, and we should always hold out hope. After finding this precious safe after so many years, it is safe to say that anything is possible.
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