Man Finds Upstate NY Millionaire’s Buried Treasure – Wins Candy Factory
David Klein is a 74-year-old multi-millionaire from Syracuse who amassed a small fortune when he created the Jelly Belly jelly bean company back in the 1970s. Over the years, Klein also amassed a multitude of nicknames such as, "Mr. Jelly Belly," 'The Candyman," and more recently, "The Willy Wonka of Upstate New York."
Klein likes to play games and hide things, and his cryptic clues and expansive nationwide treasure hunts have become somewhat legendary, not just in Upstate NY, but across the country.
Back in April, we wrote a story about Klein's latest contest when he announced that somewhere in the lower 48 United States, he's hidden treasures in the form of a "Golden Ticket" worth $100,000's and the ultimate prize, keys to his candy factory in Florida.
After an exhausting search that took him through several states, countless clues, and months of trial and error, 39-year-old Andrew Maas from Colorado Springs finally cracked the Candyman's code and found the riches.
Maas, who according to the Washington Post is a self-described lover of "puzzles and adventure," and spent time looking for the golden ticket in parts of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, even in South Dakota.
On Memorial Day weekend, Klein revealed his final clue that read:
Don’t have a instant idea, for a treasure diehard
We see witches nearby, two stand guard
Go Solve and Search, as low as our toe
Why find a nut and walks are no foe
Through a myriad of riddles by the eccentric millionaire, Maas, searching for months, deduced the necklace had to be somewhere either in Illinois or Indiana.
“It’s up to the searchers to try and decipher the story and locate it... We want to get everyone out of the house and having fun, this includes grandma and grandpa, kids and the whole family.” -David Klein, NewYorkUpstate.com
According to the Kokomo Tribune, Maas "hit on the idea that “a treasure diehard” was Indiana Jones and the ticket was in Indiana and came across Kokomo.
That’s when the line “Don’t have a instant idea” made him think of the Beach Boys’ song “Kokomo” and the lyrics “We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow."
Maas then hightailed it to Kokomo, Indiana according to the source, and started looking for the necklace. He knew that based upon Klein's clues that he had to be close and he started to dig near a bridge and shortly after, saw a piece of metal in the ground that shimmered as he took up more of the earth.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it,’” he said. “After all this time, I had it. It was so surreal. I had been thinking about this for a year," Maas said to the Kokomo Tribune.
Once he registered his find on the Candyman's website, Klein called him back to tell him that he was the grand winner and that the candy factory down in Florida was his.
Maas politely rejected Klein's offer to run his own candy shop admitting that he couldn't just up-and-move his entire family to Florida, but he and the Willy Wonka of Upstate carved out a deal.
According to the source, Maas worked out a financial settlement and is sure to be pleased with whatever sweet deal the two agree on telling the Tribune, “Whatever it is, we’ll be happy with it...the excitement and adventure was the real reward."
MORE: See 30 toys that every '90s kid wanted