Man’s Stolen Watch Returned to Him 53 Years Later

When Ed Grigor first got the news about his missing watch, he thought it was a scam.

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Kristopher Radder, Press & Sun-Bulletin/AP

Ed Grigor holds his watch that was stolen from him during his time serving in the United States Navy in the late 1950’s in Endicott, N.Y., Oct. 17, 2012.

Edward Grigor Jr., 6/12/58.

It nearly made Ed Grigor drop the phone. A stranger on the other end of the line had just read him the engraving on a watch, stolen 53 years ago, that he’d believed would never be found.

In 1958, Grigor’s aunt gave him a gift for his high school graduation: a gold 23-jewel Bulova wristwatch with his name and graduation date engraved on the back.

But the watch was pilfered when he served in the Navy. The last time he remembered seeing it was on a restroom sink on board a Navy ship. Grigor, who lives in Endicott, N.Y., with Rose, his high school sweetheart and wife for five decades, had not thought much about it since.

That’s why 53 years later, a message on their answering machine from a woman in Las Vegas who said she had found the watch sounded like a scam.

“I get calls like this all the time,” Grigor told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. “And coming from Vegas, it must be hoax.”

But when the woman who answered the call read him the engraved words on the back of the watch, he realized his long-lost Bulova had been found.

Pat Herrick, the woman on the phone, had discovered the watch among the possessions of her late mother, who used to own a guesthouse and soda shop near a Navy station in Virginia Beach, Va. Herrick said the watch was probably given as collateral by a serviceman who could not pay his bills.

An Internet search of Grigor’s name yielded his phone number, which led Herrick to return him the watch 53 years later.

“Although the watch is not very valuable, I will treasure it for the rest of my life,” Grigor told the newspaper. “It will be left to my grandson after I’m gone, and he will know its story.”