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Curious Toddler Shreds Over $1,000 in Cash Parents Had Saved for a Year

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Toddlers can be pretty unpredictable, which is why it's never a great idea to leave them alone. That's especially true when you're near a swimming pool, or a crowded playground, or apparently, in a house with both a paper shredder and an envelope full of cash. A 2-year-old's parents recently learned this the hard way, when their little boy shredded over a thousand bucks in cash, money they'd been saving for an entire year. 

Last Sunday, Holladay, Utah parents Ben and Jackee Belnap were a bit alarmed when they realized that an envelope they'd been saving cash in had mysteriously vanished, and started scouring their house top to bottom looking for it. After saving for a year, the envelope contained $1,060, which they planned to use to pay back Ben Belnap's parents for season tickets to the University of Utah football games. In other words, the money wasn't just important, it was being saved to pay back a debt and they were panicking. That's when Jackee Belnap took a peek inside their paper shredder, and looked on in horror to discover the envelope -- bills and all -- had been put through its metal jaws, and was now just a hunk of mutilated green paper.

So, who did it? None other than their 2-year-old son, Leo.

Evidently, Leo occasionally helps his mother shred junk mail and other sensitive documents, and is very familiar with how the machine operates. His parents believe he was simply trying to help out when he spotted the white envelope and decided it was junk. Understandably, Jackee's initial reaction was to cry, though she eventually couldn't help but laugh.

“We just, for like five minutes, we just shuffled through it, not talking." she recalled in an interview with local NBC affiliate KSL. "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.'"

As upsetting as the situation was, and as destroyed as the stash of cash may be at the moment, it seems as though the couple won't be out the full $1,060 after all. That's because the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has its own "Mutiliated Currency Division," which functions to help people just like the Belnaps and "redeems" everything from burned to waterlogged, and even rodent-chewed cash. The Belnaps have been in touch with them, and are planning to send what remains of the money in Ziploc bags to Washington, DC to have it checked out. Hopefully, it'll be processed quickly, and they could get it back in as soon as six months.

In any event, it's safe to say Leo has been warned to steer clear of that shredder.

h/tWashington Post

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.