Buyer Finds $7.5M in Safe After Buying Unit from 'Storage Wars' Host for $500

Combined Shape

We love a good rags-to-riches story. We also love stories of hidden treasure and unexpected windfalls.

This story is either all of those or none of those, depending on how you look at it and whether or not you think the “unexpected windfall” is dirty money. It all started with a storage locker that was auctioned off by Dan Dotson, one of the stars on “Storage Wars.”

The general idea behind the show is old units or lockers are auctioned off without people really being able to know what’s buried inside. Sometimes buyers end up with loads of trash, but sometimes they turn a good profit with the contents.

Dotson wasn’t even aware of this particular “success” story until he attended a charity event where a woman came forward who claimed to know the people who bought one of the units he auctioned off. And boy, did she have a tale to tell.

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“An older Asian woman at the table next to me kept looking at me like she wanted to tell me something,” Dotson told The Blast. “Eventually she walked up and told me her husband works with a guy who bought a unit from me for $500 and found a safe inside.”

The first locksmith they contacted wouldn’t, couldn’t, or just plain didn’t help them open the safe. The second one did, but they were startled by the contents.

Safes are, obviously, meant to hold valuables — but they’re generally kept inside someone’s home or near the owners. Who would keep a safe full of valuables in a storage unit?

But this safe held $7.5 million in cash. That’s a pretty good return on a $500 investment!

Would you have returned the money?

Unfortunately, the buyers were contacted by an attorney who informed them that the original owners wanted their cash back. They were willing to fork over a cool $600,000 to reclaim the rest, but soon upped their offer to $1.2 million.

For whatever reason, the buyers accepted the $1.2 million, and while many applaud that choice, others maintain they would’ve held onto the money.

Those who agreed with the buyers said that they wouldn’t have felt right taking that huge chunk of change when the alleged owners were still around and still wanted it.

Others are claiming that if you forget where your money is, then you don’t really need it or shouldn’t be trusted with it. The locker was bought fair and square, and the entire sum should’ve been kept.

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There are far more questions than answers in this case, though. Who leaves that sum of money just lying around? Who “forgets” where it is? And if someone has enough money to offer that much as a reward, then wouldn’t they have enough to track you down and make life miserable if you don’t comply?

Rene Nezhoda, also a main player on “Storage Wars,” suggested the money was dirty. “If you find money like that, there’s probably a reason it isn’t in the bank,” he said.

What would you have done?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking