The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 18, May 1, 2005, Article 9


Too good to be true? An April 26th story by TV station
NBC4 reported that "Two Massachusetts men digging
around a tree have uncovered buried treasure. They found
the loot in a wooden box. It contained $100, $1 , $2 and
$20 bills, all dating as far back as 1899.

The cash, along with gold and silver certificates and a few bank
notes, was inside rusty tin cans placed inside the box."

"All of sudden, I find this rotten crate with all these tin cans of
money," said Tim Crebase. "Bills after bills after bills after bills.
It was unreal."

To read the story and see a slide show, go to: Full Story

The Associated Press had a more detailed story April 27:
"Simple luck helped Tim Crebase and two friends find a stash
of cash buried in his yard."

"It was a rainy day that prevented Crebase and friends Barry
Billcliff and Matt Ingham go to their roofing job, so they began
digging around his Methuen yard to dig up a shrub whose roots
were creeping into a nearby set of stairs.

About a foot down, Crebase said, he hit some soft wood. More
digging cracked open a can and he saw the cash.

After grabbing it, Crebase said he ran screaming to show Billcliff
and Ingham, and they helped him uncover about eight remaining
cans. The total stash was about 1,800 bills dating between 1899
and 1929 and piles of gold and silver certificates. Exactly who
buried it at the home in Methuen, about 30 miles north of Boston
- and why - is unknown."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

Another reader saw the story, too, noting: "This buried treasure
story ran in newspapers all over the world."

When I read one account stating the money was found under a
tree and another account saying a bush, I shrugged it off as
inaccurate journalism. I've been quoted in print many times as
part of my work, and I know reporters don't always get the
story straight. But local police smelled something fishy when
the men's stories kept changing and just didn't add up. And then
an anonymous tip came saying that the money had been taken
from a barn the men recently worked on as roofers. An April
30th article in the Boston Globe was one of the follow-up pieces
on the story:

"The more they told their fantastic tale of unearthing buried
treasure in a Methuen backyard, posing with wads of cash and
bathing in the lights of prime-time fame, the more their story
began to fray.

Barry Billcliff, 26, of Manchester, N.H., and Timothy Crebase,
24, of Methuen, described again and again their amazing luck
three weeks ago when, they said, they dug up antique money
worth more than $100,000 at a house Crebase was renting.
Thursday night, their whirlwind media tour was preempted by
an inconvenient legal development: their arrest.

The good-luck tale that bounced from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to
Grand Forks, N.D., imploded yesterday as police yesterday
charged the men with receiving stolen property, conspiracy,
and being accessories after the fact. Police say Crebase, a
roofer, found the money more than a month ago while repairing
a barn in Newbury.

The men pleaded not guilty yesterday to the charges in Lawrence
District Court. A third man, Kevin Kozak, 27, of Methuen, who
owns the house where the other two said they found the money,
turned himself in last night at 8:45, according to Methuen police."

"Police said yesterday that the money -- about 1,800 bills dating
from 1899 to 1929 -- was stashed in metal cans in the rafters
of the barn, which sits on a 200-acre farm belonging to Sylvia

Dan Iwanowicz, who works on the farm where beef cattle, goats,
and chickens are raised, said the owners did not know the money
was in the building, which he described as a tractor and tool shed."

"No one has disputed that the bills are authentic. Yesterday, Solomon
said Secret Service agents were excited about the discovery because
many of the bills are so rare they do not think they appear in their
archives. Essex Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Foote Clark
said the men had been offered $125,000 by a collector.

Most of the cash has been recovered, Solomon said, and police
expect to reclaim the little they believe has been sold. Solomon
said he believed the men concocted their story about stumbling
upon the money so they could sell it without arousing suspicion."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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