A New York man having some landscaping done in his backyard discovered a buried safe filled with valuables that were stolen seven years ago.

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Matthew Emanuel said he hired Bob Foley and his New Jersey landscaping company, Touch the Earth Inc., to replace some damaged trees in his Staten Island backyard with deer-resistant bamboo. While they were digging, the workers came across a large metal box.

"I thought it had something to do with electricity or something," Emanuel told the Staten Island Advance.

He soon discovered, however, that the box had a dial on one side -- it was a safe.

The landscapers opened the weather-beaten safe with a pickax, revealing it was loaded with valuables.

"There it was, all these bags, zip bags with cash, gold, diamonds, it was incredible," Emanuel told WABC-TV.

Emanuel said he and his wife found $16,300 in salvageable cash, while many other large bills had been damaged by water getting into the safe.

He said a slip of paper inside the safe indicated it belonged to a neighbor he knew in passing, so he visited their home Monday to tell them about the buried treasure.

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The couple told Emanuel the safe had been taken during a burglary in December 2011 and they had given up hope of ever seeing their belongings again.

Emanuel and his wife decided to place a ceramic elephant in the spot where they found the safe, to mark it as a lucky location.