Melted Snowbanks reveal buried treasures

By KBJR News 1

April 9, 2014 Updated Apr 9, 2014 at 9:49 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Who doesn't dream of striking it rich?
Here in the Northland, some do when the snowbanks melt and reveal their secret stashes.

This is the time of year when the Northland's mountain ranges of snowbanks give their life blood to morph into mud puddles.

As the mini-glaciers retreat, forgotten treasures reappear like old bikes; still chained to a light pole and patiently waiting for its rider to take it home.

According to Proctorite Lee Gelineau, there are Northlanders that pick at the melting snow hoping to strike it rich.

"I've actually seen people park next to snowbanks in large parking lots and excavate with small shovels trying to get stuff," said Gelineau.

Hailey Rooney of Duluth says her mother does that once in a while.

"She used to sometimes look around parking lots because plows would push coins up against the edges of the parking lot," said Rooney.

Treasure hunters like that report that a lot more trash turns up than treats.

City of Duluth maintenance crews say they find a lot of car parts on the road every spring.

Workers with Downtown Duluth's Clean And Safe team tell us there's no limit to what's left behind when the thaw comes.

"You find anything from lost cell phones to credit cards to social security card and money," said Brian Pehl of the city's Clean and Safe Team.

Cell phones seem to be the most common find.

The technicians at Verizon say all is not lost if you happen to find your cell phone after a few months in a snowbank... take a bowl of dry white rice, put your phone in there, leave it for a day and the rice will absorb moisture and hopefully bring your phone back to life.

After five years on the Clean And Safe team, Pehl has found a fortune.

"A hundred dollar bill all the way to a thousand dollar check," he said.

But, because of team rules, he turned the treasures over to the Duluth Police.

Gelineau, though, didn't let go of his latest snowbank discovery.

"I was out the other day and found three dimes, two nickels and two pennies. It was just laying there. Who doesn't take free money?"

If you've lost your own treasure over the winter, people like Brian Pehl say to contact the police or a nearby store's lost and found.

There are plenty of good Samaritans who will return what they find.

Posted to the web by: Elsa Robins