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Students Find $40,000 in Thrift Store Sofa

Three college roommates who bought an old couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store in New Paltz, N.Y., had the surprise of their lives when they found $40,000 in cash hidden inside.


"I almost peed," Reese Werkhoven, one of the lucky trio, told, an online student newspaper at SUNY New Paltz. "The most money I'd ever found in a couch was, like, 50 cents."

As it turned out, the couch contained three cash-stuffed plastic envelopes, one of which had a woman's name written on the outside.

Werkhoven and his two roommates, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo, then decided to try to get in touch with her. "We all agreed that we had to bring the money back," Russo told the newspaper.

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Why did the woman stash so much money in the sofa? explained as follows:

Her husband had had a heart condition and knew his time was limited. Before he died, he gave her money each week to put away for when he passed. For 30 years she stored her savings inside an old couch in the television room where she slept. When her husband passed away, she remained working as a florist and continued to store her money in the couch until she had an operation on her back and went to a rehabilitation center for several months. Upon the woman's doctor's advice, the woman's daughter and son-in-law replaced the couch she used to sleep on with a full-size bed. The couch ended up at the Salvation Army store in New Paltz.

"When we handed the money back to the woman," Guasti said, "she told us that she felt like her husband was present in the room with us."

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The widow, who asked not to be identified, gave the students $1,000 as a reward for returning the money.




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