Fishing tale: Couple hits jackpot magnet fishing, reels in $100K

close-up of old rusted safe knob

NEW YORK — There are fish stories, and then there are fishing stories.

James Kane and Barbi Agostini were magnet fishing at Corona Park in Queens last week, something that they have been doing for a while now after being inspired during the COVID-19 pandemic, WPIX reported.

Magnet fishing is when someone takes a high-powered magnet and lowers it into water to find anything that is made of metal, Spectrum News NY1 said.

They have shared their finds on their YouTube Channel “Let’s Get Magnetic.”

Kane told NY1 he calls it the poor-man’s treasure hunting, explaining it is only a magnet, no need for a boat and all the other equipment normal treasure hunters have to buy to find their fortune.

So far they have found handguns, grenades and even a motorcycle.

“We found one grenade in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn,” Kane told the television station. “We found one across from the United Nations building in Gantry Plaza State Park…Firearms all over the entire five boroughs.”

But at Corona Park, instead of something explosive, they bought a rusty safe they had thought was empty and sealed. But there was a hole in the bottom.

They saw baggies that they thought may have had change in them.

It wasn’t coins in the safe, but bills -- and lots of them.

At first, Agostini said she thought Kane was pranking her.

“Until I saw it for myself, and he peeled back the dollars, and I saw the hundred dollars, that’s when I finally believed him, and I just gasped,” Agostini told WPIX.

They totaled it up and said it was worth about $100,000.

They contacted the NYPD who said that since there was no serial number on the safe and no way to identify the safe’s owner, they got to keep the money.

“I guess the finders keepers rule has worked for us,” Kane told NY1.

They’re going to take the cash, which has deteriorated, to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. to get it exchanged for spendable money then will use it to help buy a house for their family in New York City.

To redeem mutilated currency there are rules that you have to abide by.

According to the federal agency money can be exchanged if:

  • Clearly more than 50% of a note identifiable as United States currency is present, along with sufficient remnants of any relevant security feature; or
  • 50% or less of a note identifiable as United States currency is present and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence demonstrate to the satisfaction of the BEP that the missing portions have been totally destroyed.
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