Dan Dotson, the auctioneer from the popular reality TV show “Storage Wars,” auctioned for $500 a locker containing among other things, a small safe.
No one knew at the time what the safe contained. And no one, not even the most optimistic bidder, would have guessed.
“Storage Wars” follows a group of people who bid on abandoned storage lockers. These lockers could contain anything—old Christmas decorations, used clothes, antique furniture, tools—but on any occasion, a portable safe is a rare find.
Buyers usually toss the trash and try to sell whatever might be of value at thrift stores, secondhand stores, or for the lucky valuable finds, to specialty dealers.
When the storage lockers are open, often all the bidders can see are boxes and bins—they are still left to have to guess and gamble.
Dan Dotson and his wife Laura auction off lockers that they buy in bulk from storage businesses. Laura calls their concept “a modern-day treasure hunt.”
This time, one of their bidders was actually rewarded with treasure.
— Dan Dotson on A&E (@auctionguydan) November 7, 2018
Usually Safes Are Empty
Dotson only found out about the treasure in the storage locker after he ran into the buyers at the Cars, Stars, and Rock N’ Roll charity event in Indio, California early November. At the event, he noticed that a lady was eyeing him oddly.
“An older Asian woman at the table next to me kept looking at me like she wanted to tell me something,” Dotson told The Blast.
In a video posted on Twitter, Dotson describes the encounter.
Dotson said the lady told him, “My husband works for a guy and he bought a unit from you for $500 and it had a safe in it.”
Dotson continued, “The first person that they called to open the safe couldn’t, or didn’t.
“They called a second person and when that person opened it up—inside the safe, normally they’re empty, but this time it wasn’t empty. It had $7.5 million cash inside.”
Dotson and his wife tried to imagine how someone could leave that vast a sum in a storage unit and then forget about it. Surely, the person could have paid the rent on the storage unit on time?
“Perhaps the person went to jail,” Laura suggested. She also suggested that the owner might have passed away.
Not long after the discovery was announced, an attorney acting on behalf of the owner of the storage locker called the buyer and offered $600,000 as a reward if the buyer would return the rest of the cash.
According to the Daily Mail, the buyer rejected that offer but settled when the attorney doubled the reward to $1.2 million.
Dan Dotson will not disclose the identity of any of the parties involved. The original sale was not taped for the show.
The show’s cast might know more but they aren’t talking either.
One of the show’s regulars, Bargain Hunters Thrift Store owner Rene Nezhoda, told The Blast that he wouldn’t be at all surprised if the money was the profit of illegal enterprises.
He suggested the cash might be Mafia or drug cartel profits. He reasoned, “If you find money like that, there’s probably a reason it isn’t in the bank.”
Comments on the Dotson’s Facebook page echoed that thought.
Amanda Flynn asked, “Anyone besides me thinking drug dealer owner of unit is in jail?”
Tim Potes wondered, “If you had $7.5 million in a storage unit, don’t you think you would remember to pay the bill in advance?”