“She Made the Sign of the Cross and Left. She Assumed [Her Money] was Gone and There was No Way to Get It Back”


Source of Photograph: http://tinyurl.com/mjkcays

On 23 July 2013, Magda Castillo of Queens, New York, got her money back. She had gotten rid of her old refrigerator at Atlantic Recycling in South Ozone Park but had forgotten that she had stored $5,020 in cash in it. Ms. Castillo said, “When I remembered I left my money in there, it was too late. I live alone, and to me, that’s the best place to put my money.” She returned to Atlantic Recycling and explained what had happened, but although tow truck driver Fred Alsterberg hunted for the refrigerator he could not find it. Mr. Alsterberg said, “She made the sign of the cross and left. She assumed it was gone and there was no way to get it back.” Scrap yard manager Mike Downer arrived about 15 minutes after she left, and he vaguely remembered the refrigerator. He searched for it and found it — it was crushed in between two cars. The two men pried the refrigerator open; two black plastic bags filled with money fell out. Ms. Castillo had not left any contact information, so the two men drove around for a while unsuccessfully looking for her. They then alerted the media, and the story appeared on the news. She said, “In the afternoon, I saw on the TV they found my money. I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m very happy.’” In addition to giving Mr. Downer a kiss, she gave him a $300 reward. Mr. Downer said, “I didn’t need her money. It’s the right thing to do. It’s not my money. I’m supposed to find out whose it is.” He added, “I’m just glad she got her money back and she can pay her mortgage.” Ms. Castillo said that she won’t keep her money in her refrigerator any longer: “No more. Now I go to the bank, and I opened an account.”

For Further Information: Rich Schapiro and Vera Chinese, “Queens woman recovers $5,000 hidden in discarded refrigerator.” New York Daily News. 23 July 2013


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