Minnesota recycling workers find stolen safe with $20,000 still inside

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When you're sorting cardboard boxes and aluminum cans, a mangled, several-hundred pound safe catches your attention quickly. Even more so when you find a stack of $100 bills still inside.

It was at Republic Services in Inver Grove Heights on Friday morning when this very odd object came in through the pre-sort line. Shift Supervisor Sean Holley says for the workers on duty, the safe was hard to miss.

“Wow! Yeah, you don't see that every day,” said Holley.

The safe was suspiciously cut open and still carrying what could have been a lot of temptation.

“Found an envelope in a bag, a rubber band around it and all cash in there,” said Holley. “All $100 bills.”

It added up to about $20,000 in cash. Holley said when the workers pulled out what remained inside, they figured it was part of a crime.

“Never even seen $1,000 cash in my hand,” said Holley.

“[It] wasn't exactly the most smooth group of burglars I've ever seen,” said Sgt. Mike Glassberg with Hopkins Police Department.

When the workers called police, the safe was traced back to a middle of the night burglary of a strip mall grocery market, called Casablanca Market, in Hopkins the previous Sunday.

Surveillance photos show a driver in a getaway vehicle, a new, black Nissan Armada, waiting across the street from the market as the burglars cut the security system lines. They went inside and seemed to debate taking the ATM before hauling out the safe.

“And they didn't leave the area right away,” said Glassberg. “They kind of hung out there, looking at the safe which is kind of, again, unusual or they were looking at something in the back of the car which is presumed to be the safe.”

The safe had been cut open with a saws-all. The thieves stole about $10,000 in cash, not seeing the other $20,000 inside an envelope tucked inside a bag.

“What we want to get out there is there's a $2,000 reward for information leading to the resolution of this case,” said Glassberg.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Hopkins Police Department.

Officials are also commending the workers at Republic Services for being honest about what came in with the garbage.

“That by far is not the weirdest thing come through the line,” said Holley.