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This Somerville resident hasn’t been able to get a large safe out of his home — nor has anyone else

Manoj Mishra is offering the vault and any contents for free to whoever gets it down the stairs

Manoj Mishra found that a safe came with the house he purchased in Somerville.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

On the second floor of Manoj Mishra’s new house in East Somerville is a newly renovated bedroom overlooking the street.

In that bedroom is a walk-in closet.

And in that closet, with its refinished hardwoods and gleaming mirrors, is a 700-pound problem: a locked and seemingly immovable industrial safe, its contents unknown, that has become both a source of agitation and entertainment.

Mishra, who recently purchased the property with a group of friends, wants the locked behemoth gone, post-haste. And as the new owners cleaned up the home over the last few months, Mishra has tried desperately to get rid of the stubborn item.


“I don’t want it,” Mishra said, standing over the weathered safe on Monday.

But neither Mishra nor the many strangers he has invited into the house to attempt to remove it have had any success getting the massive metal box down the stairs and out onto the street below.

The tumbler of the safe.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Made by the long-defunct Mosler Safe Co., the safe weighs hundreds of pounds, maybe more. Wheels on the bottom make it possible to push it from room to room. But carrying it down a winding flight of stairs seems nearly impossible — and many have tried. The window someone suggested throwing it out of? It’s too small, even if some team of bodybuilders managed to lift it that high.

Mishra, who works in a diagnostics lab, had considered hiring movers. But what he said was the exorbitant cost for lugging out such a hefty object — and then getting experts to open it — wasn’t worth the time and money.

Instead, he turned to a neighborhood Facebook page on which people list free, unwanted household goods, hoping to convince someone else to take it away. To up the ante, Mishra said that whoever gets it out of the house can keep whatever bounty may lie within.


“We don’t know the password,” Mishra wrote in the private Facebook group on Sept. 12, adding an air of mystery to the whole conundrum. "But the lady who lived here used [to] own [a] gold store so your luck . . . it’s all yours. Pickup, sooner the better.”

The safe was left by the previous owner, who is now deceased. A family member reached by the Globe declined to be interviewed, but expressed doubt there was anything at all inside.

The mystery, however, has been enough to keep even those with no interest in actually taking the safe transfixed, playing out like a game show on social media.

“Whoever gets this,” one of many intrigued Facebook commenters wrote, “please update with whatever treasures you find!”

This is the second time Mishra has used Facebook to try to offload the item since buying the house earlier this year. An earlier post elicited a huge response, he said, but . . . well, the safe is still in the corner.

Interest was just as high when he posted the offer/challenge this month, and for the last several days people have been trickling into the property with a goal of taking the safe off his hands — a series of would-be Kings Arthur approaching the sword in the stone.

All of them fail.

So many people have tried that at this point, for Mishra, it has become unintentionally comical. He said he has filmed people struggling to lift the roughly 2½-foot-tall safe even an inch off the ground, to no avail. At other times, he’s stood by, amused but doubtful, as they’ve unsuccessfully tried to execute plans to get it down the stairs.


“They were not willing to give up, because they thought there is something inside. Even if there’s nothing inside, you could sell this for metal.”

One woman showed up with nine friends to get the job done, he said, but ultimately they couldn’t.

“My friends and I went in armed with YouTube videos, a dolly and a whole bunch of unfounded confidence,” Katie Levitsky said in a message to the Globe. "But the stairs are so steep and narrow it puts all the weight on whoever is beneath the safe, making it super dangerous . . . and then there’s a curve, which isn’t wide enough to turn that much weight around.”

Still, some are undeterred by the the failures of their predecessors.

Movers and cleaners hired by Mishra and his friends to spruce up the property showed an interest in getting the safe out of the house.

On Monday afternoon, as he cleared debris from the backyard and loaded an unwanted radiator into the back of a van, Cesar Rabago said he wanted to hire someone to extract the bulbous object.

He just needed to gather a few things first: “Ropes and ramps. We need to bring maybe plywood. And four strong guys.”

Mishra also said two friends planned to come over Tuesday, along with hired help, to first remove the safe and then try to crack the code.


In a message to the Globe, the prospector, who did not want to give his name, said his team would use their combined engineering expertise to get inside the safe without damaging it.

“Who would not be excited to see what lost treasure has been left inside?” he said.

Levitsky and her friends felt the same way. Days after their failed experiment, she wondered if the safe was still there, admitting she hadn’t “fully given up on it yet.”

But the news that someone was talking a good game about taking the safe on Tuesday left her unimpressed.

“That’s what they say,” she said.

The safe Manoj Mishra is trying to get rid of came with the house. Several would-be takers have failed to get it down the stairs.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him @steveannear.