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The Almighty Buck

Man Mines Midtown New York Sidewalks 183

43-year-old Raffi Stepanian makes money searching New York City streets, but it's not loose change or soda cans he's looking for, it's gold. Stepanian says he can make almost $1000 a week scouring the diamond district's streets for bits of gold, platinum, and precious gems. "Material falls off clothes, on the bottom of shoes, it drops off jewelry, and it falls in the dirt and sticks to the gum on the street. The percentage of gold out here on the street is greater than the amount of gold you would find in a mine . . . It comes close to a mother lode because in the street, you're picking up gold left by the industry," he says.

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