A Dream Come True
With one final bid, he won the storage container he wanted.
But the contents could either be a worthy find or it could turn out to be the stuff of nightmares.
When a man discovers a locked safe in the storage container he bought, he is ecstatic.
It’s a find that most can only dream of. But he doesn’t expect the police to turn up at his front door hours later.
He was just starting to get comfortable with bidding on storage containers that were on auction.
Spending money on stuff like that was a huge gamble, especially when you had no idea what was inside.
But he’d heard so many stories about people striking it rich and of people finding classic cars that they used to drive off into the sunset.
He hoped the same would happen to him.
So Far So Good
Up until that point he had been lucky. He managed to sell the contents he found in containers for just a little over what he had paid for the entire lot.
But it was a lot of work, and it took a lot of time to go through someone else’s junk.
He had to sort through it all, clean the valuable things, and then find the right buyer.
He was almost at the end of his rope for the day. If there wasn’t anything big in the next one, he was done.
Trying To Get A Look
Joe stood outside the container with about 15 to 20 other people. Everyone was eager to see what was inside the 5 x 15 Unit. These units were too big to get a good look inside, however. They could easily store the contents of a 1-bedroom apartment.
A unit that size would be ideal for storing furniture like a couch, chair, and even a small dining set.
Or they could be used for sporting equipment, bicycles, and business merchandise.
But that also meant that they weren’t ideal for glancing inside and spending hundreds of dollars on.
Keep Bidding Or Lose
The bidding was not exactly what you would see on TV shows. With the shows it’s all about high drama, shouting, pushing, screaming, and general mayhem.
But there was a fun side to it, especially when Joe got into a bidding war with another interested buyer.
It felt good to win, but he had to warn himself – as he had done many times in the past – that he had to stick to his budget.
He couldn’t spend what he couldn’t afford to lose—a lesson he didn’t want to learn the hard way.
Wrapped Up In The Moment
But Joe just couldn’t help himself this time around.
The container was tightly packed with furniture, which often goes for a good price especially when it’s old, and there were a few other goodies he wanted to look a little closer at.
But a woman behind him kept upping his bid.
It started at $100, it was a hefty starting bid, but the container was really full. He matched the bet, and then the woman upped it a little.
He bet a bit more, and so it continued. How long could it possibly go on for?
He was $350 in, and he was adamant. There was no way he’d give up the container! The bets rose to $400, and she still hadn’t given up, but neither had he. The bets kept climbing $450, $460, $470…
Finally, the bid settled on $500, making Joe the winner of the container.
He felt incredible but at the same time, he was shaking. He was drawn back down to earth, and he realized what he had done.
That container had better be worth the amount he spent on it.
Hidden By The Rest
All but a few onlookers moved away from the site now that Joe was victorious.
They had lost interest in the contents since they weren’t the ones that had to go through it.
Yet a few stuck around to watch Joe enter the small building and sort through everything.
But once they saw what he found, they could only wish they had been the ones to win it.
Joe slowly walked into the large unit, afraid and thrilled about what he would stumble upon.
The container was packed with old furniture, but there was a bit of a gap that allowed him to walk between the items.
He felt sweat prickle the back of his neck as he understood that the furniture alone wouldn’t cover the high price he’d paid for the unit.
There had to be something better in there that would help him break even, so he began looking.
A Chance Find
Joe’s eyes flitted over the room and quickly fell on a dull grey container that was lying on the floor next to a chest of drawers.
He rushed over and immediately set about opening it. But there was yet another problem, the safe he discovered was locked.
With the hope that it held something worthy, Joe called up one of his friends and asked him to come over and bring a drill.
But never in his wildest dreams could he begin to imagine that the safe he was about to open was filled
Breaking The Lock
Joe drilled deep into the lock to force it open.
When he finally broke through, he carefully took the lid off.
Joe was surprised to see a collection of old VHS tapes, and got to his feet and started to pull them out
Underneath the tapes was a note, but when he read it a chill went up his spine.
The note simply read “don’t” in rough handwriting.
Joe inspected the old videotapes one by one and noticed that some were dated, but there was no other information written on the labels.
He suddenly had the feeling that he was being watched.
He turned to look behind him, but he was all alone in the storage container.
You see, all things were not going to be peaches and cream for Joe and his extraordinary find.
Barely two hours into his discovery, there was a knock on the door and soon men in uniforms were swarming all over the container.
Joe’s elation was short-lived, just what had he gotten himself involved in? There was something sinister afoot.
So, just what had Joe found?
The safe was stuffed with bundles of yellowed wax paper. Joe carefully unwrapped the first bundle and was astonished to find $50 bills.
Joe couldn’t believe his eyes as he unwrapped parcel after parcel, he had never seen so much money!
But just how much money was there?
Who did it belong to? And why were the authorities so interested?
Joe realized that in his exaltation he had sent photos to his girlfriend and also uploaded the photos of the contents of the safe to pretty much every social media site.
No wonder the police were here.
He still hadn’t been able to count all the cash, but he knew it was enough to roll in… So far he was up to $1 million.
He dragged himself away to talk to one of the officers waiting for him, but as Joe would soon find out, the police weren’t the only ones interested in the contents of the safe.
All in all, there was $7.5 million stashed away in a few safes around the containers.
Everything from nickels to $100 bills and pink slips for cars.
There was just one gigantic problem, the original owner had gotten wind of the find and had hired some top-notch lawyers to get back his fortune.
Joe was in trouble.
Almost as soon as Joe had found the huge amount of cash, he started to receive threats and things started to take a frightening turn.
What had started out as amazement and the find that dreams are made of had quickly started to become a living nightmare.
Questions raced through Joe’s mind as he lay in bed at night: Who had hidden so much money in a storage container? And why hadn’t they come to collect it before now? And what was on the VHS tapes?
Everything started moving extremely quickly after the police arrived. Soon after, Joe got a call from the lawyers telling him in no uncertain terms that he must return the money but that he could keep $600,000 as a finder’s fee.
Joe had some quick thinking to do, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to tangle with the original owner of the safe.
Joe had been told in no uncertain terms to leave everything as he had found it until the case wound up, but a man’s curiosity could only be kept at bay for so long.
He had to know what was on the tapes.
One sleepless night, he carefully opened the plastic bag they had been sealed in, popped one into an old VCR, and pressed play.
As Joe tells it, he witnessed something that made his blood run cold on those tapes.
And now that he had watched them, he could never unsee them again.
Scene after scene played in his mind and haunted his nightmares.
He tried to reason to himself that the tapes were fake, meant to intimidate anyone who found the enormous amount of money. But he wasn’t so sure.
Joe wrestled with a dilemma.
If the owner of the safe knew that the tapes had been found, would they come after him? Should he just keep quiet?
Did they already know he had seen them?
Night after sleepless night, the images plagued him. So, what had he seen on the tapes?
What He Discovered
Joe’s curiosity had finally led him here, and he had discovered something he certainly wished he hadn’t.
What was on the mysterious tapes? We might never know.
He refuses to disclose what he had seen, but all we know is that now he was well and truly frightened for his life.
Was all that money really worth crossing these people? And did they even know that they had left the tapes in the safe?
The Law On His Side
After consulting with his friends Joe learned that, in the state of California once a unit had been sold, the contents were no longer owned by the delinquent tenant.
He had full rights to keep anything in the unit, after all, he had purchased it fair and square.
But the lawyers were not going to back down that easily.
How Bad Would It Get
Thinking that they were doing Joe a service, they upped the finders fee to $1,200,000 and they were playing hardball.
Who knew what these people were capable of?
Joe began wondering just how someone forgets $7.5 million dollars in a delinquent storage rental.
Not someone good it seemed. But how bad would things get?
Returning A Fortune
So would he only get 1.2 million?
That’s a huge amount of money in anyone’s book, but still not quite like the huge figure that he had just felt in his hands while unpacking wad after wad of money.
He didn’t like the fact that he was being strong-armed, but there was also the moral dilemma.
It was now his money, but he didn’t do a thing to earn it. Perhaps he should give it back? The thought was not sitting well with him.
A Fair Deal
After much deliberation and death-threats, Joe decided that splitting the money straight down the middle would be a fair split.
After all, the now previous owners had left the container unpaid for a lot more than a couple of months – in fact, almost a year – without responding to the letters sent by the store owners, and that debt was exactly why the auction had happened.
How It Works
Self-storage is almost identical to the real estate industry and works the same way as apartment buildings or longer-term rental hotels.
Storage owners rent or lease storage units to their tenants who pay their fees by the day, week, month, or year.
And, just like an apartment building, tenants who stop paying the rates for the rental must be dealt with by the storage facility.
If a storage facility landlord’s tenant stops paying for the storage unit, the landlord can try to deal with them in two ways.
They can evict the non-paying tenant, and if that doesn’t rectify the situation, they can eventually auction off the tenant’s items to recover their costs.
Although this may seem unfair, storage facilities operate on extremely fine margins.
Covering Their Losses
A storage owner says, “I really don’t make much money out of auctions – it’s to try to cover our expenses. 90 percent of the time I don’t cover my losses.
One unit may have cost me $600 and the person bids at $400, so my revenue has still suffered a loss.”
“An unpaid unit does not make any money. The sooner the delinquent tenant can be moved out, the sooner a paying tenant can move in.”
Purchasing a storage unit without knowing what’s inside can be risky – and in Joe’s case, terrifying. However, for a few lucky bidders, buying a unit really paid off.
In 1989, one man got the surprise of his life when he found a car covered in a tarp in the unit he had won at auction. The car turned out to be none other than an original submarine vehicle used in the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.
The man sold the car to Elon Musk for a cool $1 million.
One Hundred To One Million
It all started when the couple made the decision to purchase a storage unit at a local auction for just $100.
They had no idea what they would find inside, but they were hoping for some hidden treasures.
As they began to rummage through the unit, they came across an old car that seemed to be in good condition.
It was a vintage vehicle at first glance, and the two couldn’t believe their luck.
A Hot Summer Day
“It was a hot summer day when we made the find,” the couple reported.
“We were on the lookout for some cheap furniture and never expected to find something as valuable as a car.”
But tucked away in the corner was the vehicle, a battered old Lotus Esprit sports car. It was covered in dust and cobwebs, but the two could tell it was a classic.
They eagerly paid the $100 fee to the storage unit company and took it home.
The couple had always been vehicle enthusiasts.
They decided to take a chance on the car, drafted a plan to restore it, and immediately got to work.
But as they were cleaning it and making the needed repairs, they noticed something strange about the license plate.
It had a special designation reserved for movie cars.
Bond, James Bond
After some research, the couple discovered that the car had featured in the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
They were beyond shocked and couldn’t believe their luck.
After all, how often did one stumble into such wonderous finds?
They finished their renovations and took their car to exhibitions and viewings for a few years. But after a while, they decided to sell it.
Putting It On The Market
The couple decided to try and sell the car, hoping to make a profit.
They reached out to car collectors and even posted an ad online.
One of the people who saw the ad was none other than Elon Musk.
The billionaire entrepreneur was a huge fan of James Bond and was interested in acquiring the car for his personal collection.
Speaking to local press, Musk revealed how much he’d loved “The Spy Who Loved Me,” as a kid growing up in South Africa.
Among the things that snared his heart was the vehicle, which could transform into a submarine in the movie.
“I was disappointed to find out that it doesn’t transform in real life,” he explained with a grin.
“But if I get it, maybe I’ll find a way to make it work like in the movie!” But how much was he willing to spend?
A Million Dollar Deal
Musk’s legal team got to work, and after a few back and forth with the couple, they reached a sound understanding.
The couple had agreed to part with the sports car for almost a million dollars, which Musk was happy to cough up.
The couple couldn’t believe it. They had made a huge profit from a $100 investment!
But this was just the beginning.
Handing Over The Keys
The couple handed over the keys to the car, and Musk promised to shower it with the love and adoration it deserved.
He thanked them for finding, restoring, and watching over such a timeless piece of movie history.
In a statement on social media, he shared that his Cybertruck took a few design influences from the sports car!
He was truly honoring it as he’d promised the couple.
But as they walked away from the car, the couple couldn’t shake the feeling that they had just sold a part of their history.
They had become attached to the car and the memories it held, and they knew they would always wonder what became of it.
But they were glad that they sold it to someone who knew its value as much as they did.
In their eyes, no one was more deserving of such an incredible car.
Open And See
Storage unit have long proven to be Schrödinger’s boxes. There is usually no telling what one might find after winning them in auctions.
One might buy the unit for a hundred dollars and find goods worthy twenty dollars inside.
Other times, the value might spike up to seven million dollars.
The only way to find out is usually to buy and open the unit and see.
While most have made great profits by buying these units, others haven’t been as lucky.
Buying The Unit
In Connecticut, an unlucky buyer thought he’d made the find of the decade.
Dave, the buyer, had always been fascinated by storage unit auctions.
He spent his weekends scouring the internet, looking for the best deals.
One day, he stumbled upon a unit that seemed too good to be true. It was being sold for a fraction of its value, and the seller alluded to it was filled with goods worth thousands of dollars.
Winning The Auction
Excited at the prospect of striking it rich, Dave gathered a massive portion of his savings and placed a bid.
He was elated when the announcer called his name as the winner of the auction.
As he unlocked the unit, he could barely contain his excitement.
He imagined all the valuable antiques and collectibles that he might find inside.
However, as he started rummaging through the contents of the unit, his excitement quickly turned to disappointment.
There was nothing of value, only a pile of old clothes and broken appliances.
Dave couldn’t believe it. He had spent most of his savings on a storage unit filled with worthless junk.
He’d already pictured a unit brimming with valuables, and now this was what he got.
Nothing Of Value
Desperate to find something, anything, of value, Dave continued to search through the unit.
Just as he was about to give up hope, he spotted a small box tucked away in the corner.
The box seemed pricey, meaning whatever it held must’ve been worth a fortune.
His heart raced as he opened it, hoping to find a hidden treasure.
But as he rummaged through the box, all he found was a collection of old letters and photos.
They were old and tattered, telling a story of a family that was long gone.
Dave couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness as he realized that the only value in the storage unit was sentimental, not monetary.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.