A random act of nature led him to investigate what he assumed was nothing more than a power box. It was driving him nuts seeing the rusty object partially unearthed and ruining the way his lovely garden looked. But when a professional landscaper stopped by to rebuild his damaged land, he was stunned to find that the box contained a ton of secrets.
The Emanuel family lived in Todt Hill, Staten Island, and they never really gave the unsightly box that lay in their backyard much thought. Matthew Emanuel had lived in this home for about four years along with his wife Maria and his son. Although they knew every inch of their property by heart, there was one corner that hadn’t been explored. And the family had no idea that a mystery awaited to be discovered.
The family always assumed that the prize lying in wait in the corner of the backyard was nothing more than an electric box where electric pole wires were kept. Initially, the box was embedded so deep in the soil that no one really noticed it. But then, Mother Nature decided to do her thing, and the box was no longer inconspicuous.
The US East coast was hit by strong storms in early 2018. These storms wrecked the Emanuel family’s yard. The plants and flowers were uprooted and so were the trees. Matthew himself was proud of his backyard, and he wanted to restore it to the way it was. But shortly after the storms had passed, he noticed something by the side of the fence. It was the box, and it was more visible than it had ever been before. But what was inside it? It was only a matter of time before curiosity got the best of them, and the Emanuel family uncovered the truth.
It was obvious that the box hadn’t been moved in a very long time, so Matthew decided to take a better look. The box was covered in rust. It was also full of poison ivy too. This made it difficult for anyone to get their hands on it. So, the family forgot about the box. But by the time spring came along, the family was stunned by the object that stuck out from the beautiful green pasture in their yard. Soon, Matthew decided to reach for his phone and make a call.
A deer had stopped by and ate up the plants that surrounded the mysterious box. In doing so, it made the box easier to see. In fact, the family could see it from the deck, the living room, and the kitchen too. The box was an eyesore, and Matthew already had plans to redecorate his backyard, and it didn’t include that unsightly thing. But this would prove impossible with the box located where it was.
Matthew couldn’t redesign his backyard all on his own. So, he decided to search for an expert landscaper. Fortunately, he found one who went by the name of Bamboo Bob. His real name was Robert Foley, but he preferred Bamboo Bob. Besides an odd name, he also had decades worth of landscaping experience. He had also seen some rather bizarre things during his career. But Bamboo Bob didn’t realize that he was about to see something unlike anything he had ever encountered before.
Bamboo Bob drove to Staten Island where the Emanuel family’s home was. The work seemed simple. All he had to do was clean up debris and plant some foliage. But then he noticed the box and was mesmerized by it. Bamboo Bob intended to plant bamboo to create a wall of privacy that would prevent deer from going into the yard. Shortly after his crew started working on the yard, Bamboo Bob asked the Emanuel family about the unusual box. He didn’t know that his actions were about to have some rather shocking results.
Matthew told Bamboo Bob that he assumed the rusty box in the yard was nothing more than an electric box attached to the fence that bordered the property. Bamboo Bob had worked in enough backyards to know that Matthew’s assumptions were way off. Bamboo Bob’s curiosity got the best of him. Not that he had much choice. The rusty box was in the way, and his crew needed to get rid of it. So, there was no sense in keeping everyone in suspense any longer.
Bamboo Bob’s crew excavated the box until they freed it from its soil prison. They realized the box wasn’t electrical when they pulled it from the ground. The men turned the rusty box over to take a closer look. As it turns out, the object was actually a safe. Matthew’s assumption for the last four years was way off, but what could possibly be inside of it? That was the only thing that Matthew had on his mind. The Emanuel family still hadn't discovered the incredible secret concealed on their property that would unravel an astonishing string of unresolved mysteries.
The safe was left abandoned above ground in the backyard of the Emanuel’s family home. There it had remained partially covered by the soil. The safe as about one and a half feet in height and two feet across. It also weighed about 100 pounds. Fortunately, the contents inside were even more impressive. There were lots of hundred-dollar bills, each bundled in four-inch thick stacks. Then they found a small zipped bag which had more to offer. But even as he studied the safe’s contents, something made him uneasy. This treasure clearly belonged to someone else.
Matthew and Bamboo Bob had discovered some treasure and the contents inside left them dumbfounded. They simply couldn’t believe their luck. Although the items inside the safe had survived, they had also suffered a great deal of damage. Most of the dollar bills were so wet that they were practically useless. The surprises that lay in wait were plentiful. Matthew set the money aside so it would dry. This took several days. Luckily, some of the dollar bills were salvageable! Unfortunately, most of the money was damaged beyond repair. But he counted the bills that were in semi-decent condition, and he was stunned. The total came out to $16,000, but that wasn’t the end of it. Matthew and Bamboo Bob were in for another surprise, and this was a doozy!
Hidden within the safe were diamond rings, jewels, earrings, jade, and chunks of gold. All in all, the amount discovered in the safe was worth about $53,000 altogether. "We were freaked out," Bamboo Bob told Staten Island Live. "It's something you can't make up." But that wasn’t the most shocking thing. The men would discover something so shocking, it would make headlines.
There was a note inside the safe, along with a couple of personal documents all wrapped in a plastic zipper bag. When Matthew read the letter, he was stunned. There was an address on the piece of paper, and Matthew was determined to learn who it belonged to. Fortunately, the address was located in the vicinity of his neighborhood. Two days after the safe was discovered, he decided to go to the address and ask the people there if they were missing anything. It was, after all, the right thing to do. But he hadn’t realized that this would get the cops involved.
Matthew knocked on the door, and an elderly woman greeted him. But he had no idea what he was going to learn from this. Were the contents stolen? Matthew introduced himself, but then decided not to ask the woman if the contents in the safe belonged to her. Instead, he asked, “I have a strange question for you. Have you ever been robbed?” The elderly woman was puzzled at first. Then she told him something that started an investigation.
It turns out that in 2011, the elderly woman and her husband got robbed by the alleged "Ninja Burglar." The thief broke into her house the day after Christmas when the couple was away. When they returned, they found that their safe had gone missing. Had Matthew discovered the missing link to an otherwise unsolved crime? The safe contained treasures and documents that wear very special to the elderly couple. They feared they would never get it back. But was their stolen safe the same safe that was discovered in his backyard?
The Todt Hill neighborhood fell prey to the conniving "Ninja Burglar" in 2011. He was given that nickname because of the way he broke into homes. His stealth made him an unseen menace as he ravaged through the neighborhood homes. In the span of a decade, the thief robbed more than 200 homes in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 160 of his targeted homes were in Todt Hill, Staten Island. The community was mortified. In 2015, cops finally caught the Ninja, which put the locals at ease. But this elderly couple never imagined that their stolen treasure would be returned to them.
The Emanuel family invited the elderly couple to visit their home and look through the contents they found. They never fathomed that a rusty old box could give two people so much happiness. The woman cried the moment she saw the jewelry. There were no words to describe the emotions she felt. She hugged Matthew while she came to terms with the realization that her lost possessions were found. She spent years dealing with the trauma of losing her treasured items. She never thought that they would be recovered. The Emanuels’ returned everything to the elderly couple. But there was one mystery that hadn’t been resolved yet.
This had once been a criminal investigation. So, Matthew and the couple agreed that the police should be called in. But everyone was surprised to learn that the cop who stopped by was the same police officer who answered the elderly couple’s call years earlier. He had also investigated the Ninja’s burglaries as well. This meant, that the cop was very familiar with the situation. He also knew the elderly couple quite well too. No one imagined that an electric box covered in poison ivy would wind up resolving a decade-long mystery.
Who knows what’s hiding in your backyard? The Emanuel family managed to bring joy to the elderly couple who had lost their prized possessions several years earlier. “A couple of people asked us, ‘Why did you return it?'” Matthew's wife explained. “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours.” But that didn’t mean that family wasn’t awestruck by their luck. So, to honor the memory of the discovery, they placed an elephant statue for good luck where the box was initially buried. "I guess the reward is karma," Matthew told CBS. "Good karma.” But one thing they never figured out was, why did the "Ninja Burglar" hide the safe in the Emanuel family's backyard?