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An envelope with $1,060 in it went missing in the Belnap household in Holladay, Utah, last weekend. Ben and Jackee Belnap had been tucking money away to pay for University of Utah football season tickets and they finally had enough. But the envelope was nowhere to be found.
As Ben dug through the trash, Jackee made a stunning discovery: the money was slashed to ribbons in the shredder.
Immediately, they knew that their 2-year-old son, Leo, was responsible.
“Leo helps me shred junk mail,” Jackee told KSL.
The couple suspected that Leo believed he was being helpful by shredding the envelope. He has been known to shred without his parents’ supervision. At first, Jackee cried.
“For like five minutes, we just shuffled through it, not talking. We didn’t know what to do and then I broke the silence and I’m like, ‘Well, this will make a great wedding story one day,’” Jackee said.
The couple felt resigned to accept that children do sometimes damage things.
“Most people they say, 'Oh, a kid drew crayon on the wall or something.' I've never heard of a kid shredding [a] grand,” Ben told News4Utah. “Honestly in my heart, I said, 'Someday this is going to be really funny.’”
Ben shared the story on Twitter with a picture of the shredded cash and Leo and some other parents shared stories of their own children, um, helping.
“Join the club. Our older daughter shredded 5 Amazon gift cards worth $450,” Bill Vance replied. “It took her a week to piece all but one tiny cross cut piece together with tape.”
Twitter user TOXSIC wrote: “Well, as a parent of 4 kids, ranging from 16-1 yr old I can fully relate to this scenario … Buy the little fella some sticky tape — I’m sure he’ll spend awhile creating a nice collage for you to hang on the wall.”
While Twitter uses commiserated and joked with the Belnaps, they also explained that the family could send the shredded money to the Department of Treasury’s Mutilated Currency division. If they have more than 50 percent of the note, which is clearly U.S. currency, the department can replace it. According to the website, the department receives about 30,000 claims annually worth about $30 million.
Ben talked to someone at the treasury department and they might be able to get some of their money back, he told News4Utah.
Leo is no longer allowed to use the shredder, even though the couple agreed that these episodes just come with the territory of raising their son.
“We have a lot of Leo moments. Most of them are just funny, and we laugh about them for days,” Jackee told News4Utah. “This was one of those moments that wasn’t his greatest but we love him.”