$41,000 Found in Couch Returned by Good Samaritan New Yorkers

Friday, 16 May 2014 12:18 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Three 20-something New York City roommates who found $41,000 stuffed in their secondhand couch last month have returned the money to its rightful owner.

In an interview with CBS 2's Don Champion, the roommates — Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti, and Lara Russo — discussed their discovery. It all started one night in April when they noticed that one of the couch cushions, from the sofa they got for $20 at a Salvation Army store, was particularly lumpy.

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Upon closer examination of the cushion, the roommates found a bubble-wrapped container that held several envelopes. Inside the envelopes was an "inch and a half of hundred dollar bills" amounting to $41,000 in cash, Werkhoven told CBS News.

"When we were in the bedroom our neighbors thought we won the lottery or something cause we were just screaming," Guasti added.

The excitement soon subsided, however, when the trio found another envelope inside the cushion containing a woman's name. Realizing the name was likely the rightful owner of the $41,000, the roommates decided to do the right thing and track her down.

"The entitlement very quickly went away with finding that notice with her name on it. Because we didn't earn that money," Guasti told CBS News 2.

Werkhoven reached out to his mother for help in acquiring contact information for the woman. After a bit of research, the mother texted her son a phone number.

Werkhoven proceeded to call the woman.

"I'm like 'I found something that I think is yours' and she's like 'what?!'' and I'm like 'I found a couch' and then she's like 'oh my God, I left a lot of money in that couch,'" Werkhoven told CBS News.

The elderly woman, who asked not to be identified, told the roommates that she had been stashing money in the couch for years and that the $41,000 represented her life savings. Her children, unaware of its valuable contents, reportedly donated the couch to a Salvation Army store.

According to Guasti, the woman said the generous return of the money must be a sign from above, her husband looking down on her.

In return, the grateful woman gave each of the roommates a $1,000 reward for doing the right thing.

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