Finding $150,000 worth of cash buried in the ground would no doubt change anyone's life, but this story is a little bit different.
Wayne Sabaj, 50, hasn't spent a single dollar of the funds he found buried beneath the peppers in the garden of his McHenry County home, but he's still got a reason to smile.
Sabaj had been sporting a mouth full of painful rotting teeth and a scraggly beard and hair that, by his own account, made him look like a hillbilly. But that's changing.
Every tooth in his mouth has been pulled — replaced by dentures and paid for by a dentist who wanted to do something nice because he couldn’t believe Sabaj turned in the cash to authorities.
“I can talk to people and smile without worrying about my teeth,” said Sabaj Friday after getting his dentures adjusted at Elite Dental Care in Downers Grove. “And I figured, ‘I got new teeth, I might as well get cleaned up and shave and get a haircut.’ It’s a whole new Wayne. Before I looked like I should be on the Jerry Springer show...now my friends say I look 20 years younger."
The work cost just under $10,000, the doctor said.
“His demeanor has totally changed,” said Dr. Mazar Shuaipaj. “He was reserved, shy, didn’t want to smile. . . . Now he’s a smiling extrovert.”
Sabaj found the cash in his garden in late August when he went to pick some broccoli for dinner. The money was wrapped in plastic and stuffed in two nylon bags. He filed a claim for it, and if no rightful owner comes forward within a year, there’s a good chance he’ll get to keep the money.
McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said at the time he thought the cash was taken during a burglary, then ditched in Sabaj's yard, but the county does not have any reports of large cash thefts in the area. Authorities continue to investigate, he said.