N.Y. couple finds safe filled with over $130K while magnet fishing in lake

FILE - A magnet fishing couple in New York said they discovered a safe containing an estimated US$100,000 in bills while fishing in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Not all treasure is buried with an “X” to mark the spot. Sometimes it’s waterlogged at the bottom of a lake in Queens, New York.

While magnet fishing in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Friday afternoon, couple James Kane and Barbie Agostini said they reeled in a safe containing wads of American $100 bills, estimated to be worth about US$100,000 (nearly C$136,300).

Magnet fishing has become an increasingly popular pastime in both urban and rural areas, much to do with trendy social media videos. Similar to true fishing, the hobby involves treasure hunters tossing a strong neodymium magnet into bodies of water in the hope of pulling recovered items to the surface.

Unfortunately for Kane and Agostini, the currency inside the safe was damaged by the lake water. It is not clear when the deposit box was tossed into the waterway.

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In an interview with NY1, the couple said they’ve found plenty of safes before, but never one filled with cash.

Kane and Agostini contacted the New York Police Department about their find, who investigated the abandoned safe and determined there is no crime. Agostini said the safe was “obviously stolen” but there were no IDs on the box or any way to identify its original owner.

Kane calls magnet fishing “the poor man’s treasure hunting,” as it is much less costly than purchasing or renting a boat and true fishing gear.

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While magnet fishing, Kane and Agostini said they have found plenty of treasure over the years, from rusty umbrellas and old cellphones to car doors and even abandoned knives and firearms. More than anything, and perhaps expectedly, the couple finds lots and lots of trash.

Last year, Kane and Agostini discovered an antique Second World War-era grenade while magnet fishing in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, N.Y. The grenade was not active, as the device had corroded and the gunpowder had been emptied out of the bottom.

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What is magnet fishing?

Like many in the magnet fishing community online, Kane and Agostini document their expeditions on YouTube.

Their high-powered magnet, purchased from Kratos Magnetics, is standard among the community and can, according to the company, pull up to 3,800 pounds. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, magnet fishing has grown in popularity and seen many creators, especially in Europe, grow audiences of hundreds of thousands.

In Amsterdam, magnet fishers have pulled up bicycles from the Amstel, the popular river which runs through the city.


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♬ original sound – BondiTreasureHunter

Others around the world have claimed to discover soggy motorcycles, coins and scrap metal.


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♬ Montero Call Me By Your Name Remix – Dj Jaguar Remix


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♬ original sound – The Fisher

Not all magnet fishing finds are pleasant. In May, a magnet fisher in New Orleans discovered a human skull padlocked to an exercise dumbbell. The dumbbell weighed 15 pounds, while the skull was decomposed and missing a jaw and top teeth.

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Click to play video: 'Magnet fishing grows in popularity in Quebec'
Magnet fishing grows in popularity in Quebec

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