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39-Year-Old Wins Candy Factory in Scavenger Hunt

He found the golden ticket.

On Aug. 29, a year-long treasure hunt inspired by Willy Wonka came to an end. 

The game ended when 39-year-old Andrew Maas dug up a small necklace with a golden ticket buried under the Vermont Covered Bridge in Kokomo, Indiana.

When he uncovered the ticket, the Colorado native became the owner of a 4,000-square-foot Florida candy factory.

The game spanned the nation with some 35,000 people solving riddles in search for golden tickets in each state. 

The scavenger hunt was the brainchild of 74-year-old David "Candyman" Klein, the man behind the Jelly Belly brand. 

While golden tickets previously found in other states netted the winners $5,000, Klein handed Maas the keys to his Sandy Candy plant, which makes edible sand-art treats. 

Maas, a married father of two, couldn't uproot his family in Colorado, so he's working on a deal in which Klein will buy the factory back from him.

Maas says the chase, as chronicled by the Kokomo Tribune, was "the real reward" and the money is "the gravy on top."

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