Man claims he was pressured into giving up rights to treasure


Louis Thibodeaux says the fortune his deceased neighbor left is rightfully his. He says he was pressured into signing an agreement he didn't have time to fully investigate.

At the end of October we told you about an old safe which a locksmith spent weeks trying to crack. Once he did, he found what appeared to be hundreds of rare gold coins stashed in old ammunition boxes and PVC pipes.

"I was shocked. I'm all nervous," recalled Thibodeaux. "I don't know what to do."

Thibodeaux says he was given the safe by the executor of his neighbor's estate while they were cleaning out the house. Minutes after finding out about the stash, he says he went back to that person and had her write a letter to grant rights to the claim

Thibodeaux is an ex-convict and says he didn't want anyone thinking he stole the safe. But in the flurry of activity after the treasure-trove was found, police were called to the locksmith. He says he was intimidated by not only their presence but by the attorney who then appeared, representing the estate. The attorney presented him a settlement agreement.

"They told us we had two hours to sign it," Thibodeaux said. "Or t estate would take over and we would wind up with nothing."

Thibideoux says he doesn't have the money to consult with a lawyer and wouldn't know who to call. He admits signing the document, agreeing to payment of a few thousand dollars in exchange for him giving up his right to any future claims.

KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy explained, "It's a negotiation and when you negotiate, you can negotiate away your rights. You can make a bad deal. Bad deals doesn't mean they're crooked deals."

Still, Thibodeaux says he's owed more.

"Just imagine, if I took it to the scrap yard like I started to," he said. "Wouldn't nobody had nothing."

We've never been told exactly how much money was in that safe. Thibodeaux says it's at least $2 million. The attorney for the estate would not answer questions on Wednesday when we called to ask about Thibodeaux's claims.

Find Kevin on Facebook at ABC13KevinQuinn or on Twitter at @kquinn001

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices

Copyright © 2023 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.