A Houston scrap collector hauled an old safe from a family's home, but when the vault was pried open he discovered it held a fortune in gold coins and silver dollars.
The man who opened the safe was David Molick, owner of Robbie's Key & Lock shop who told ABC News that the scrap collector asked him to break into the safe before it was turned into scrap about a month ago.
"He showed me a picture of this safe, and I saw that it was a high security one," Molick said. "It was real difficult to get into. It was pretty beat up. Looked like somebody had tried forcing their way into it since the front was beat up."
Molick said he spent more than 20 hours trying to open the safe last week. Finally, after drilling 10 holes through six-inch walls of concrete, he discovered a bonanza.
"I thought, 'Oh, this ain't real,'" Molick said. "There were 50 Krugerrands in one pipe, and brand new, un-circulated silver dollars in ammo boxes. All of them were well over half full. The entire safe must've weighed at least 3,000 pounds." Molick estimates the safe to contain $2.5 million.
Molick then called the police and put a lock back on the safe the next day.
"We temporarily took custody of the coins on Monday," said Houston Police Department spokesperson Keese Smith.
Smith declined to estimate the value of the coins.
"I don't have an exact number, but there was a substantial amount," he said.
The scrap dealer and the family that originally owned the safe have remained anonymous, but Mike DeGuerin, an attorney for the family, told ABC News affiliate KTRK that the coins were returned to the family. He told the station the family's father had been saving them for decades, but had died recently. Someone who was helping his family clear out the garage was given the safe to sell as scrap, but was supposed to return anything inside of value once he figured out a way to get it open.
Smith said, "The two parties involved worked out their differences, and the coins were released to the individuals involved yesterday afternoon."