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Garbageman with a heart of gold returns bucket of silver


A worker at the Yakima landfill has discovered some people's trash really is treasure. This week a hazardous waste technician returned a bucket of silver bars to a family that didn't know it owned them.

Fifty-year-old Robert McCune says he typically deals with things like flammable paint, acids, and industrial grade fertilizers from the region's apple orchards. And he expected to find a batch of rat poison when he popped the lid off a one-gallon bucket recently.

"To my surprise, I got silver bars staring me in the face," McCune says. "And you know automatically your adrenaline goes high and then a little devil on your left shoulder pops up and your angel on your right shoulder pops up. It's human nature."

"But, you know, I didn't earn it. It wasn't mine. So I knew I needed to get it back to them."

The county landfill tracked down the owner – with the help of a business card stuck to the bucket. The silver was thrown away by family members cleaning out the house of their recently deceased father.

Neither the family nor McCune will say exactly how much silver was returned, but the value seems to run into the four-figures.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.