Watch returned to retired Navy sailor decades after it was stolen

Virginia Beach, Va. – A retired Navy sailor has a beloved watch returned to him – more than a half century after it was stolen.

The watch was left in Virginia Beach, but that’s only part of its incredible journey back to its owner.

“It’s been to like five states, finally got back to me in New York, so I call it a time traveler – after 53 years.” 

All thanks to Pat Herrick, who lived in Virginia Beach, but now lives in Las Vegas.

“We were just so thrilled to find him, and we were really happy.” 

Ed says the watch, with his name engraved on the back, was given to him by his aunt just before joining the Navy in the late 1950s.

He was stationed in Memphis, Tennessee at the time.

“It was in a transit barracks, and I was in the head cleaning up and everything. I left the watch on the sink, I went back to my bunk and found out that I didn’t have my watch, so I went back to the sink to look for the watch and it was gone.”

He says he figured a fellow sailor stole it. 

Ed says he was angry, but eventually forgot about it.

In the meantime, that watch traveled to different places, but eventually ended up with Pat Herrick’s mother.

“Well, my mom owned two businesses in Virginia Beach, and a lot of the sailors who were primarily out of boot camp from Oceana Naval Base and Dam Neck would come often times on the weekends.”

Pat says those who couldn’t pay would leave items as collateral until next pay day, but it was never retrieved.

Pat says this is the location of her mother’s guest house and shop — you can see today the building isn’t here anymore – it’s a parking lot. But Pat says she thinks the watch was left here as collateral in the early 1960s and it would stay here for a lot of years. And, even though the building is gone, it stayed with the family up until last month.

“We looked at it and Mark says, geez, do you know who this person is? And it was Ed, and I said never heard of him.”

Mark and Pat searched the internet, and found Ed.

“I get a call from Las Vegas. This guy Mark leaves me a message stating that he has a gold wrist watch with my name engraved on the back and to please contact him.” 

Ed says he thought it was a hoax, but he says his wife called the number back. Finally, everyone was able to connect and the watch was mailed to Ed.

“I tell you, they went above and beyond the call of duty.” 

“And I’m hoping some day we’ll get to meet him, and that’ll really put the icing on the cake.” 


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