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Rabbi finds $98K in a desk bought on Craigslist—and returns it

You’ve got to practice what you preach.


Miles Klee


The word “Craigslist” in a headline typically signals a sleazy or disturbing story, so prepare to be surprised.

A Connecticut couple bought a desk on the site for $200, soon realized that $98,000 in cash had been hidden inside it, and returned that entire sum to the desk’s original owner.

For most of us, such a happy accident would be the prelude to a whirlwind tour of the world’s most expensive beach resorts—and you’d never hear about our luck on the local news. But most of us aren’t Rabbi Noah Muroff. “Right away my wife and I sort of looked at each other,” he told New Haven affiliate WTNH, deciding right then that they couldn’t keep the money.

A generous decision, to be sure, but also a good way to avoid involvement in a Breaking Bad–style drug plot. The stacks of hundred-dollar bills were discovered in a plastic bag behind the drawers when the Muroffs tried to move the desk into the rabbi’s office, found it wouldn’t fit through the door, and began to take it apart. Had they been more meticulous in their measurements, Muroff might still be working obliviously atop a pile of Benjamins at this very moment.

The couple, who noted that “the most important thing in life is to be honest,” quickly called the person who had put the desk up for sale online, recording their conversation. When informed of the odd discovery, the original owner was briefly overwhelmed by her own good fortune, eventually explaining that she had stuffed an inheritance into the desk and later forgotten exactly where she had placed it.

Predictably, for Internet commenters, the story soon devolved into a shouting match over the inherent morality of religious types and whether an atheist would have returned the money. Over here, we’re just still wondering about that desk. Did the Muroffs ever get it into that room? And did they get their $200 back, as a finder’s fee of sorts? Because, again, for a story about Craigslist, this sounds too good to be true.

H/T WTNH | Photo by Mellie Smith/Flickr

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