"I think we were all in shock," said Connecticut-based treasure hunter Keith Wille

By Joelle Goldstein
April 22, 2021 04:20 PM
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Stacks of cash
| Credit: Getty

A Massachusetts family hit the jackpot recently when they asked a treasure hunter to settle a decades-old rumor — only to have him find $46,000 underneath their home's floorboards.

Keith Wille said he was in total disbelief when his sleuthing skills led him to find thousands of dollars inside a gray metal box underneath the family's attic, CBS affiliate WFSB reported.

"I think it was shock," Wille told the outlet. "I think we were all in shock."

Wille — who lives in Groton, Connecticut and makes a living as a treasure hunter — was initially hired by the family after they discovered his services on the internet, according to WFSB.

At the time, the family was looking to settle a rumor that money had been hidden somewhere inside their house since the 1950s, the outlet reported.

They had previously hired carpenters to search for the cash but nothing was ever found, according to WFSB.

Knowing how Wille had experience finding items in near-impossible locations — he reportedly helped find a retired teacher's wedding ring in the water off Waterford in 2016 — the family decided he was perfect for the job, according to the outlet.

Last week, Wille took his metal detector and ventured into the family's attic, where he spotted something in the floor that had never been noticed before, WFSB reported.

"I got a couple of signals over here. I'm going to take my endoscope camera and take a look under the floorboards and into the cracks in the corner," Wille said in a video of the search that he posted to YouTube.

"When I dropped it into the second or third hole, I saw something weird," he continued in the clip. "It had letters and numbers on it. It was a small silver something with a slot in it. I realized, 'Oh man, this is a keyhole.'"

Wille eventually pulled out the lockbox but said he tried to keep his expectations low and encouraged the family to do the same as they worked to open it.

"As treasure stories go sometimes, the contents turn out to be time capsules, pictures, notes, and other keepsakes," he wrote in a post on his website. "When you find a hidden lockbox, you hope for a hidden fortune but suspect the least exciting content."

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As it turned out, the box contained $5,000 bundles — $46,000 in total — all of which were still wrapped in their original bank straps, WFSB reported.

"Cash was packed to the lid. All denominations were in the bundles, and individual bills were dated 1934, 1935, and 1950," Wille recalled on his site. "The date 'December 19, 1958,' along with the teller number, was stamped on each currency strap. Silver certificates were visible in three of the bundles."

He also noted on his site that $46,000 in 1958 was equivalent of $421,603 in 2021 and that he believes the person who left the cash behind was someone who grew up during the Great Depression.

"The Great Depression settled into peoples' lives even if they were well off," Wille wrote. "Along with the cash hidden in this attic were antique tins of flour and boxes of nails from the original 1950s house construction — evidence of even the wealthiest of families being touched by these challenging times."

Following the discovery, WFSB spoke to one of the family members — only identified as Karen — who said she was relieved to finally have an answer about the money mystery.

She also noted that her family was unsure of how to spend their new funds.

"All this story, you believe it's true, you don't know if it's true," Karen told the outlet. "I'm just glad it was finally found."