The Beginning Of The End
After he forced the mystery safe open, his jaw came unhinged when he saw what was inside. There was a stack of unlabeled VHS tapes, and underneath, a hint of green. Feeling like the luckiest man alive, he gaped at the wads and wads of cash that spilled out. But it wasn't long before he realized that what seemed like a blessing was actually a curse. A few hours later, he heard a knock on the door. "Open up," a voice bellowed, "It's the police!"
Thrill Of The Bid
He was just getting comfortable with bidding on storage containers that were on auction. Spending money that he didn’t have was a huge gamble when you have no idea what is inside. but there were so many stories out there about people striking it rich – even of some people finding whole classic cars and driving off into the sunset.
So Far So Good
Being inspired by these stories, the man had found humble success so far by selling off units' contents for a small profit. It was a lot of effort though, with the labor of sifting through garbage and cleaning the items to sell. The man had become inpatient. He needed his break and if it wasn't in the next storage unit he would give up.
Bidding Against The Crowd
Joe was outside the unit with a crowd of people who he was going to have to bid against. The unit was 75 sq. ft. and meant it was too large for anyone to see anything that wasn't in plain sight. There was a heap of things from a 1 bedroom apartment. This unit was good for those looking for furniture. There was a couch, chair, dining set, bicycles, and sports equipment. The unit was not good if you wanted to spend a couple of hundred dollars.
Winning Or Losing
Joe really enjoyed taking part in the auction. The parts you see on TV, like the intensity and bidding wars, were fun for Joe. He loved nothing more than to beat out a competitor and win the unit. He just had to be mindful of his budget -- which he didn't always stick to. He kept repeating the words in his head -- don't put up money you really can't afford to lose. He was lucky, he hadn't found out the hard way yet.
Joe felt like he was losing his self-control on this unit. The container was packed wall to wall with things he wanted to have a look at. He realized he wouldn't be able to do this if the woman in the crowd kept outbidding him. The container's price started at a pricey $100. This was a lot to start off a bid, but then again the container was stuffed full. Joe and the woman kept outbidding each other again and again. Just how long could these two last?
Snapping Out Of It
After bidding $350, he felt confident she wouldn't go any higher, but it kept climbing… $400 went by, then $450. Finally, the bid ended at $500. Joe snapped out of the adrenaline rush that bidding gave him and thought about what he had just done… he needed there to be something worthwhile in the locker as he was the one left with the locker for a whopping $500!
Almost the entire crowd walked away from the unit now. They didn't win anything so they didn't stick around. There were still a few stragglers who were interested to see what the winner would find in his new unit. To their surprise, they really wished they had won the bidding war when they saw what Joe emerged with.
Better Be Something Of Value
As Joe sauntered into the container, he noticed the old furniture he'd seen before. There was enough space between them to squeeze through. Joe was concerned, all this furniture wouldn't nearly cover the cost of the unit. There had to be something of value here somewhere. Joe started his search for hidden treasure, hoping to find a big break.
Then, suddenly, something caught Joe's eye. There was an old container on the ground in the corner of the unit. Joe tried to pry it open but couldn't manage, the safe was secured. Joe called a friend with a drill and when they finally managed to pry it open, neither he nor his friend could have guessed what they'd uncover inside this mysterious safe.
Breaking the Lock
Joe drilled deep into the lock to force it open. When he finally broke through, he carefully took the lid off. Joe was surprised to see a collection of old VHS tapes, and got to his feet and started to pull them out. Underneath the tapes was a note, but when he read it a chill went up his spine.
The note simply read “don’t” in rough handwriting. Joe inspected the old videotapes one by one and noticed that some were dated, but there was no other information written on the labels. He suddenly had the feeling that he was being watched. He turned to look behind him, but he was all alone in the storage container.
You see, all things were not going to be peaches and cream for Joe and his extraordinary find. Barely 2 hours into his discovery there was a knock on the door and soon men in uniforms were swarming all over the container. Joe’s elation was short-lived, just what had he gotten himself involved in? There was something sinister afoot. So, just what had Joe found?
The safe was stuffed with bundles of yellowed wax paper. Joe carefully unwrapped the first bundle and was astonished to find $50 bills. Joe couldn’t believe his eyes as he unwrapped parcel after parcel, he had never seen so much money! But just how much money was there? Who did it belong to? And why were the authorities so interested?
Joe realized that in his exaltation he had sent photos to his girlfriend and also uploaded the photos of the contents of the safe to pretty much every social media site. No wonder the police were here. He still hadn’t been able to count all the cash, but he knew it was enough to roll in… So far he was up to $1 million. He dragged himself away to talk to one of the officers waiting for him, but as Joe would soon find out, the police weren’t the only ones interested in the contents of the safe.
Man Finds Hidden Safe Inside $500 Storage Unit, Breaks It Open
All in all, there was $7.5 million stashed away in a few safes around the containers. Everything from nickels to $100 bills and pink slips for cars. There was just one gigantic problem, the original owner had gotten wind of the find and had hired some top-notch lawyers to get back his fortune. Joe was in trouble.
And, almost as soon as Joe had found the huge amount of cash, things started to take a frightening turn. What had started out as amazement and the find that dreams are made of had quickly started to become a living nightmare. Questions raced through Joe’s mind as he lay in bed that night: Who had hidden so much money in a storage container? And why hadn’t they come to collect it before now? And what was on the VHS tapes?
The Law on His Side
After consulting with his friends Joe learned that in the state of California once a unit had been sold, the contents were no longer owned by the delinquent tenant. He had full rights to keep anything in the unit, after all, he had purchased it fair and square. But the man to whom the storage unit belonged wasn't going to back down that easily.
Everything started moving extremely quickly after the police got involved, but he didn't tell them about the tapes. Soon after, Joe got a call from lawyers telling him in no uncertain terms that he must return the money but that he could keep $600,000 as a finder’s fee. Joe wasn’t sure he wanted to tangle with the original owner of the safe, but he wanted to keep the money. After all, he'd found it fair and square. Then, he got another call from the lawyers.
How Bad Would it Get?
Thinking that they were doing Joe a service, they upped the finders fee to $1,200,000 and they were playing hardball. Who knew what these people were capable of? Joe began wondering just how someone forgets $7.5 million dollars in a delinquent storage rental. Not someone good it seemed. But how bad would things get if he refused to return what he'd found?
Returning a Fortune
They were offering him 1.2 million. That’s a huge amount of money in anyone’s book, but still not quite like the huge figure that he had just felt in his hands while unpacking wad after wad of money. He didn’t like the fact that he was being strong-armed. Perhaps he should give it back? But the thought was not sitting well with him.
Joe had been told in no uncertain terms to leave everything as he had found it until the case wound up, but a man’s curiosity could only be kept at bay for so long. He had to know what was on the tapes. That night, he carefully opened the plastic bag they had been sealed in, popped one into an old VCR, and pressed play.
As Joe tells it, he witnessed something that made his blood run cold on those tapes. And now that he had watched them, he could never unsee them again. Scene after scene played in his mind and haunted his nightmares. He tried to reason to himself that the tapes were fake, meant to intimidate anyone who found the enormous amount of money. But he wasn’t so sure.
Watching The Tapes
Joe's curiosity had eventually got the better of him but he was left haunted by what he saw. Even worse, Joe now wrestled with a dilemma. If the owner of the safe knew that the tapes had been found, would they come after him? Should he just continue to keep quiet? Did they already know he had seen them? The images plagued him. But things were about to get a lot worse.
The First Night
The first night began uneventfully enough. But Joe had a growing sense of unease. Tonight something just felt… different. He was having trouble sleeping. He had let Netflix ride for hours, but his mind wouldn't stop turning. He got out of bed and shuffled down the stairs to the kitchen for a cup of cocoa. Little did he know, all his movements were being watched.
As Joe was sitting on the porch, he realized that he had left his phone inside. So he placed his mug on the step outside the front door and ran inside to retrieve his cellphone. He threw the bolt on the door into a locked position as soon as he had sprinted inside. It was this action that had him gasping with relief when he realized – seconds later — just what kind of situation was unfolding on the porch where he had been sitting moments earlier.
Joe unlocked the front door and went outside again, looking for his cocoa. But it had been moved and was no longer resting on the ledge by the door. It was now about six feet away from the door, just inside the ring of illumination from the porch light. His heart sank and every hair on his neck stood on end. He knew all signs pointed to “danger.” Who had been watching him from the dark? And why were they trying to lure him out?
Cat And Mouse
Joe slammed the door closed behind him and locked it. All his senses were on overdrive and he could feel the adrenaline rushing through his veins. Then he heard heavy footsteps and pressed his eye to the peephole to see where they originated from. What he saw on the porch made his blood turn to ice in his veins.
There was a dark figure pacing back and forth, muttering viciously under his breath. That’s when Joe realized -- with a sinking feeling of absolute terror -- that he had been watched the entire time. He grabbed his pepper spray. But when he looked again, the figure had gone. But the next morning, he found that his mug had been emptied and a note had been rolled into it with three words crudely scrawled: “Let Us In.” But things were about to get stranger.
A Haunting Reddit Post
A few days later, the situation that was unfolding intensified. Joe took to Reddit to describe what he had been going through since he'd found the VHS tapes and the cash. At least then, if something happened to him, there would be an account of what had happened. He ended his account with: “It’s become clear to me that I am a pawn, forced to play in a very sick game.” But what twisted game of cat-and-mouse had he been so inexplicably drawn into? – He would find out soon enough.
The Second Incident
The second incident occurred when he came home from work earlier than usual. Deciding to order pizza and take in a movie, he started to settle in. Walking over to the refrigerator, he noticed that it was slightly ajar. He checked the internal temperature, but it hadn’t even risen two degrees. He couldn’t have left it open when he had left for work. But then who had? And just a few minutes before he had arrived?
The implications were terrifying. Then, Joe noticed that his dog was barking outside in an unusual way. And that’s when he saw it. In Joe's peripheral vision, he made out something on the cutting board to his left and immediately knew it was out of place. He wrote: “when my eyes fixed and focused on what it was, it hit me so hard it put the deepest crack in the hull of my sanity.” It was another piece of paper.
"I Told You"
The terror made his knees buckle underneath him, but he stretched and clawed at the note with his left hand. It read: “I told you.” The words spun around in his mind and he began to tear around the house, searching for something… any signs of forced entry… but he could find none. How had this intruder gotten in?
Calling For Help
Joe bolted to the bedroom and locked himself in. He knew it was time to call for help. He called 911, but he was so terrified that he could only whimper the address and give no more information. A few minutes later, he heard them pull up the drive, kick the front door in, and pound on his bedroom door, screaming “police!” He refused to come out from the safety of his room until they had searched every corner in the house and every dark shadow outside.
Joe explained what had been happening to the police. With every word he said, he could see the incredulity on their faces grow. They could see that he was shaken, so after they found nothing in the house or yard they reassured him that he could call again if something happened, but insinuated that he had wasted their time. Feeling foolish, he let them out and watched them disappear into the night.
Securing The House
Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Joe brought his dog inside and locked the doggie door securely. After a few nights with no incident, Joe finally felt somewhat at ease within his own home again. He knew that there was still a very real threat. He had been warned. He thought that he had located the weak area in the house and had secured it. It must have been the doggy door that the stranger had crawled through, surely? Since he had bolted it shut, he had seen no more signs of the intruder. But he knew he had to show the police the tapes.
What He Discovered
Joe’s curiosity had finally led him here, and he had discovered something he certainly wished he hadn’t. He'd been threatened and hunted for days because he's found them. Was all that money really worth crossing these people? Did they know that he had watched the tapes that they had in the safe?
A Fair Deal
After much deliberation and terrifying threats, Joe had decided to inform the police of everything that had happened. After they had seen the tapes, they seized everything and sealed the storage unit shut. Joe was moved into a witness protection program pending further investigation of the storage unit's criminal previous owner. And what was on the mysterious tapes?
We might never know what Joe saw. Finally deciding that it was time to get the police involved, he handed the VHS tapes over and removed all his Reddit posts. He deleted his profile and any other posts linking him to the case. He refused to disclose what he had seen, but all we know is that now he was well and truly frightened for his life at that point.
A Reddit Mystery
Users who were following the story on Reddit were shocked to see that Joe had removed all his posts relating to the tapes and the cash. Joe never did post what he'd seen on the VHS tapes. Users gathered that the sheriff had requested that everything pertaining to the discovery was taken down. The investigation is still ongoing.