SUNY New Paltz student and friends find $40,000 stashed in $20 couch

NEW PALTZ (WABC) -- When SUNY New Paltz student, Reese Werkhoven and his two friends Cally Guasti and Lara Russo went to the Salvation Army one day, the plan was just to get a couch that fit their living space. But once they brought the couch home they realized they'd gotten a whole lot more than they were expecting.

40000 cash surrounding student

Courtesy of The Little Rebellion

According to, which broke the story, the three friends had settled into the couch for the first time when Werkhoven discovered an envelope under the couch's arm stuffed with $20 bills--totaling $700. He was shocked to say the least but it was just the beginning.

Each friend started digging further into the couch, pulling out more and more envelopes with cash. All told, they found $40,000 and were immediately confronted with the dilemma of figuring out what to do with all that money. Keep it or try to give it back to the owner?

40000 cash surrounding student 2

Courtesy of The Little Rebellion

They were aided in their decision by the discovery that one of the envelopes had a woman's name on it. Werkhoven, Guasti and Russo talked amongst themselves and their parents and after a lot of soul searching, decided they would return the money to its rightful owner.

Werkhoven's mom found the woman's number in the phone book and Werkhoven called her. He said he'd bought a couch from the Salvation Army and the woman immediately said she'd lost a lot of money in the couch; and he knew they'd made the right decision.

It turns out, unbeknownst to her family, the woman had been storing money in the couch for years given to her by her husband. Once he passed away and she later had a back operation, her daughter and son-in-law heeded a doctor's advice and decided it would be best for her to sleep in a full-size bed; that's when the couch found its way to the Salvation Army.

The woman, who doesn't want to be identified, was very happy to get her money back and gave the three friends $1000 for their honesty.


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