Police Remove Gold Diggers Trying to Strike It Rich in Storm Drain

Gold-Diggers Target Storm Drains in California 1:41

Their gold mine was a real stinker.

A pair of prospectors trying to go for the gold hit a new low when police in Northern California say they were found scrounging for the elusive nuggets in, of all places, a storm drain.

The mining went on for six months before police in Auburn, northeast of Sacramento, were alerted to the suspicious activity, according to NBC affiliate KCRA.

Image: Gold diggers removed from Auburn storm drain
Police removed two men from a storm drain beneath Old Town Auburn after business owners complained of hearing banging and seeing lights beneath the street. KCRA

"Our officers realized that they were actually picking some of our storm drain away by digging for the gold," Auburn City Manager Tim Rundel told the station. "As a result, we had to call in our public works and they had to do some repair."

The storm drain runs underneath a Mexican restaurant in the Old Town Auburn section, which was settled as a gold rush community in the mid-1800s.

Café Delicious owner Ruben Ramirez said he heard a tapping noise below the trap door of his kitchen last week, and later hoisted himself down into the drain to see what was happening. He found remnants of human activity — a flashlight, chocolates, cigarettes.

"Those people, they were here for a while," Ramirez told KCRA. "And, I'm assuming they did most of the work at night."

Auburn officials say the men found in the drain wouldn't admit to whether or not they hit pay dirt, and were let go without being arrested.

"They thought there was a possibility they might actually find some significant gold," Rundel said, "but I’m here to tell you, there’s not any significant gold in our storm drains."