Woman Claims Loss of $1 Million Mattress
By IAN DEITCH, AP
JERUSALEM (June 10) -- An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress she said had almost $1 million inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites on Wednesday.
The woman told The Associated Press that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise present on Monday — and threw out the old one.
The next day, she said, she remembered that she had hidden her life savings inside the old mattress. "I woke up in the morning screaming, when it hit me what happened," said the Tel Aviv woman, who asked not to be identified.
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She went to look for the mattress, but it had already been hauled away by garbage collectors, she said. Searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.
She said the money was in U.S. dollars and Israeli shekels. She refused to say how she acquired such a large sum. "It was all my money in the world," she said. There was no way to verify her claims, and she refused to disclose key details.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was not familiar with the case and no report had been filed.
The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot published a picture of the woman searching through garbage at a dump in southern Israel. The picture shows the woman, dressed in a white top and black pants with her back to the camera, picking through a huge pile of trash that fills the frame about 10 feet in all directions.
Yitzhak Borba, the dump manager, told Army Radio that his staff was helping the woman, saying she appeared "totally desperate." He said the mattress was hard to find among the 2,500 tons of garbage that arrives at the site every day.
He said the increased security at the site to keep would-be treasure hunters away.
The woman said the money had been stashed in a mattress because she had had "traumatic experiences with banks" in the past. She would not elaborate
When I was in the service one of the things I learned was how to search a room really really well. How to find hidden spaces and things. As my hobby was treasure hunting with a detector it was a great thing to learn.
After I got out I had a job for a while with a "Building Recycler". We did demolition, but not the mechanized smash and haul you see so much of now. We took buildings down like they went up stick by stick. Everything was then cleaned and re-sold. Lumber bricks and all.
My skills in searching paid off many times in finding small caches that were left behind. Everything from kids treasures hidden in walls and vents to lock boxes between rafters. Never found alot but enough to make it interesting. The Boss took all we found and what he did with it I don't know.
One day I got a call from a lady that the boss knew. Her mother had died and they knew she should have had a large sum of money on hand. She hated banks and never spent anything she didn't have to. Could I come out and search the house for her?
I asked some questions about the older woman. Could she get around well? Was she of sound mind? How did they know she had the money? From her answers I made a mental picture of an elderly woman who grew up in the depression. She was in a walker and struggled to remain independant till the end. Every month she got two checks at the first of the month and her daughter took her to the bank and shopping. The money she had left was in an envelope in her purse when she came home.
I was sure I could find the money. People who hide things want them safe but easy to get to. Out of sight of the casual visitor but where the owner can have a reason to go there and retrieve the money they need. Somewhere that strangers have no reason to be. I would search the bed room, as it met all the criteria.
When I got to the house I was shocked to find it completly empty.
The woman who called had had a cleanout company clean out the house so she could sell it. She never thought that the money might be in the furniture.