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Tsawwassen junk crew finds missing treasure

Scott Foran (left) and Alex Elsey of 505-Junk recently found that one person
Scott Foran (left) and Alex Elsey of 505-Junk recently found that one person's junk can also be a treasure trove.
— image credit: Adrian MacNair

A Tsawwassen-based junk removal company recently found out that not all buried treasure is located on a desert isle.

Barry Hartman, co-owner of 505-JUNK, said he and his employees recently found missing cash, cheques, and even a family heirloom that their clients didn't even know existed while cleaning out homes.

In late February the 505-JUNK crew was removing items from the first floor of an East Vancouver home when employee Derek Mann found $300 in cash. Surprised, they put the money aside and kept working.

A few hours later, co-owner Scott Foran found $1,000 in cash and $16,000 in government-issued cheques in the bedroom.

The hunt for buried treasure didn't end there. The next day the crew was working in the basement when Hartman found the client's mother's 14-karat gold wedding ring.

He put everything the crew had found in a box and took it to the client's office in Vancouver.

"I handed everything over to her and she was pretty excited," says Hartman.

The client was so grateful that she offered a reward to the company, but 505-JUNK refused. Eventually, they accepted $100 as a gift to Mann, who was returning to Europe to play soccer.

"At first I said we can't accept this, but she really wanted us to give it to him," said Hartman.

In the two and a half years since Hartman and Foran started 505-JUNK, they had never found any large amounts of cash or jewellery before. But lightning was poised to strike twice.

A week later the crew was in Tsawwassen cleaning an apartment and had just finished telling the client the story from Vancouver when the client found $8,000 in cash in a ziplock bag. Hartman said the coincidence was shocking and exciting at the same time.

"The other find was more fun because the client wasn't on site and we were put in a position where we could do the right thing," he said, praising his employees for returning the money and cheques to its rightful owner.

"Every company has values and we chose honesty before we even started it. Because we're going into the client's homes and there has to be a high level of trust with everyone. So, we try to build that into our company."

Foran and Hartman were recipients of the 2013 Rising Star Award in the Delta Chamber of Commerce Hats of to Excellence gala in November.

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