The unnamed woman made the unusual decision to hide her prized coin collection at the grotto on the campus of Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md., under fallen leaves near the statue of the Virgin Mary. She decided that the virgin Mary offered better security than a Wiser deadbolt.
A Mount Saint Mary's University press release
quotes shrine director Bill Tronolone, “The owner just wanted to a safe place to keep her life savings while she left town and in her thinking, what better place than the Grotto, right next to the statue of Mary."
reports, "The woman later told church official that she didn't know where to leave the coins other than in Mary's care."
The grotto may be protected from thievery and malfeasance but the unnamed woman did not account for the diligence of a groundskeeper.
Shrine director Bill Tronolone told News4 what happened: "He was cleaning this area out and he took his rake to rake down some of the leaves and the bags fell, boom right to him.... He says Bill, I found two bags of coin and I look at them and they're all gold and silver." The Catholic Review
reports that the Frederick County Sheriff's Department
was informed of the find.
On November 16
the woman returned from her trip only to discover that the bags of coins were missing. She approached Tronolone and he was able to return the stash, valued at $40,000 U.S., to its rightful owner.