Seattle family hits rewind after recycling VCR with $6,000 inside

By: ABC News
By: ABC News
Todd Hwang

A family accidentally recycles a VCR with $6,000 in it. (KOMO)

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Renton, Wash. (ABC) -- What does a family do when a Seattle mom's secret hiding place for $6,000 in cash ends up at the scrap yard? Head to the dump.

But not just any dump: a sustainable "zero waste zero landfill recycling operation" in Renton, Washington, outside Seattle.

Todd Hwang's mother was shocked to find that her family had dropped off an old VCR at a free recycling event at a local high school last weekend, in cooperation with 1 Green Planet recycling center.

"She was just looking for the VCR. She was really sad, so that's when we knew it was something more than just a VCR," Hwang told ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle.

Around 5 a.m. Monday morning, his mother and sister went to 1 Green Planet recycling center to try to retrieve the old appliance.

"She wanted to go through (on) her own, in all of the trucks, find the VCR," Michael Szanyi, the owner, told KOMO. "I promised her, 'don't worry, I will find it for you.'"

Hwang's mother didn't tell Szanyi at first what was in the VCR.

"The only thing she said was, 'It's a black and old VCR.' She was telling me she got it from her mom and it was very important for her," Szanyi said. "I have my mom in Hungary, and I thought it's going to be a good Karma."

Workers spent hours digging through the 12 tons of stuff from the high school event, which was about six "giant trucks' worth of old computers, video games and appliances."

Finally, an employee, Alberto Cordova, found the VCR at the bottom of one of the bins, KOMO reported.

On Thursday, Szanyi reunited Hwang and his mother with their VCR with the loot.

"Please keep it in a bank, not in a VCR," Szanyi told the family.

Hwang said, "I think we'll get a safe."

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