The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

May 15, 2014

Roommates buy lumpy used couch, find $40,000 in cash

NEW PALTZ, N.Y.  — For all the screaming and carrying on, their neighbors thought they'd won the lottery. But it was a lumpy old sofa stuffed with $40,000 in cash that had three young roommates raising a ruckus.

And here's the other side of the ticket: They returned the money to the 91-year-old widow whose couch had been given away.

"We just pulled out envelopes and envelopes," said Cally Guasti, a social worker with Family of Woodstock who shares an apartment with two friends in New Paltz, 75 miles north of New York City. "My mouth was literally hanging open — everybody's was — it was an unfathomable amount."

Guasti told The Associated Press on Thursday that she and her friends had bought the beat-up couch and a chair for $55 at a Salvation Army thrift shop in March. They noticed the arm cushions were weirdly lumpy. Then, one night in April, one of them, State University of New York at New Paltz student Reese Werkhoven, opened a zipper on one arm and found an envelope.

It contained $4,000 in bubble-wrapped bills.

Guasti, Werkhoven and roommate Lara Russo opened the other arm zipper and started mining the treasure stashed inside. They counted it up: $40,800.

"Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed," Russo said. "I wanted to put it back in the couch and like re-find it in the morning when I can process it better."

Gausti said they spread the money on the bed and started counting.

"And we were screaming," she said "In the morning, our neighbors were like, 'We thought you won the lottery.'"

Mixed in with the cash was a deposit slip with a woman's name on it. Werkhoven called her the next morning.

"She said, 'I have a lot of money in that couch and I really need it,'" Guasti said.

They drove to the home of the woman, who turned out to be the elderly woman. She cried in gratitude when they gave her the cash she had hidden away.

The woman's family had donated the couch to the Salvation Army while she was having health problems.

"It's not our money, said Werkhoven, of New York City. "We didn't have any right to it."

Guasti said the cash simply wasn't theirs. "I think if any of us had used it, it would have felt really wrong."

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium