A couple’s ‘childhood dream’ of finding buried treasure came true when they found gold, diamonds and wads of cash stuffed into a metal box buried in their back garden.
It turned out the enormous haul worth a whopping $52,000 (£38,000) had actually been stolen from their neighbours seven years earlier.
Matthew and Maria Emanuel were having new trees planted when the incredible discovery was made.
The couple have lived in their home completely unaware of the treasure in their garden for fours years.
They saw the box, submerged in dirt amid old trees, before picking through its contents.
Bags full of diamonds, gold and jade were inside the box – which they later learned is a safe – plus wads of wet $100 (£74) bills.
“You dream of a kid that you find buried treasure and it happened, it was unbelievable,” a smiling Matthew told CBS New York.
He explained that it was only when deer ate the foliage of the old trees that the box became visible.
“I didn’t know it was a safe, I just thought it was some kind of electrical box,” he continued.
Workers planting the new trees then moved the box and it was then that its remarkable contents were unearthed.
There were dozens of rings, including an engagement ring, gold, $100 bills and jade.
“It was stunning,” he told the network.
He explained how the safe contained a piece of paper with an address on it, linked to their neighbours.
Matthew said: “I knocked on the door and I asked them if they were ever robbed, and they said they were.
“She was shaking.”
Maria added: “The cops told her ‘you’ll never see your stuff again’.”
New York Police Department said a burglary was reported at the address in 2011 – and a safe, with $52,000 worth of property inside, was taken.
The neighbours, who didn’t want to go on camera, told CBS they were “surprised and grateful”.
Maria said plenty of people have asked why they returned the haul, but she said “it wasn’t even a question, it wasn’t ours.”
The couple have now placed a white statue of an elephant in the spot where the safe once sat, to serve as a reminder of the astonishing discovery.