When inspecting the apartment with three of his friends, Thorkildsen wondered whether he'd be able to move the fireplace. When he removed a stone slab at the top to begin inspecting the fireplace, something caught his eye.
Using their mobile phones for light and with one of his friends holding on to his legs, Thorkildsen was able to climb far enough into the flue to pull out four envelopes stashed with cash.
“I don't know exactly how much money there is but our rough count put it at around 325,000 kroner,” he told Dagbladet.
He later told VG that the find, which amounts to about €35,000 or $38,000, was surreal.
“To begin with, I broke out into a cold sweat. After that, we hopped around screaming. I thought this was only something that happened in bad American movies,” he said.
Even though he was the new rightful owner of the flat and thus the money, he decided he would not pocket the cash but rather help fulfil the wishes of the apartment's deceased previous owners.
“After the euphoria subsided, I quickly realized that the money should be returned. An elderly couple lived in the flat for many years and they had bequeathed all of their belongings to Kreftforeningen [the Norwegian Cancer Society, ed.],” Thorkildsen told VG.
The estate agent thus contacted the cancer society and gave them the good news – and the cold hard cash.
“I'm impressed that someone can be so honest. He could have easily not told anyone about it, so we are happy that he gave the money to us,” society spokesman Ole Aleksander Opdalshei told VG.