The man with the drill, the man with the spade and the man with the bucket. The intro sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for those involved, it was bitter seriousness for four years. A judge has now decided which of them can go home with seventeen gold bars, worth 500,000 euros.
The three workers were demolishing a basement in Vouzon (Loir-et-Cher) on July 21, 2015, as part of renovation work. The guy with the spade quickly bumped into a concrete tile. The man with the jackhammer then squeezed his way through the hard material, after which the first one took over the job again.
He was also the first person to find the sealed plastic box. An explosive was first thought.
Their surprise was great, however, when it turned out that ten gold bars appeared to be sticking in. But it became even more beautiful, with a second and even a third box. 34 gold nuggets in total, with an estimated value of around a million euros.
139,000 euros for each
But how was the loot to be divided? The owner of the building kept half to himself and proposed to divide a large part of the surplus fairly among the three employees. They would each receive 139,000 euros. In addition, he also wanted to treat their team boss, the employer and the technical director of the company to a substantial bonus.
So much generosity, the jack drill couldn’t handle that. He started a lawsuit and was proved right two years ago. There were only two honest finders, the court ruled. Those executives had nothing to do with it and the man with the bucket was in fact too far from it. Checkout therefore for those who held the spade and the jackhammer.
“The last fifteen seconds is crucial”
But the story doesn’t end there: the man with the spade appealed because he thought that he was the only one entitled to the treasure. He was, after all, the one who first touched the gold bars. The judge went along with his reasoning and so he now takes the longest step.
“It was not their intention to find a treasure and so there cannot be multiple ‘winners’. Whoever uncovered the gold bars, in this case, has every right to speak,” was the verdict of the court of appeal in Orleans.
And so the owner of the building must share the million with the worker who held the spade. “The judges have studied all photos and testimonials. My client’s version is the most credible,” concludes his lawyer Antoine Béguin. “The last fifteen seconds turned out to be crucial. He swept away the pieces of concrete and then put his hand on the box. That makes him the honest finder.”