BINGHAMTON, N.Y., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A New York man says strangers from Las Vegas returned a wrist watch that was stolen from him decades ago.
Ed Grigor's received his wrist watch, which he calls The Time Traveler, as a high school graduation gift from his aunt in 1958, the Press and Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, N.Y., reported.
The gold 23-jewel watch, which was engraved with his name and the date on it, was stolen when Grigor was serving in the Navy.
Then, 53 years after his watch disappeared, Grigor received a phone call last month from "Mark from Las Vegas."
Mark said he had a watch with Grigor's name on it.
"I get calls like this all the time," Grigor said. "And coming from Vegas, it must be hoax."
Grigor's wife Rose, however, returned the phone call and a woman named Pat Herrick answered. She asked if Grigor had been in the Navy, and if he had pawned a wrist watch in Virginia Beach, Va.
After Rose handed him the phone, Grigor asked Herrick to describe it.
When Herrick told him it's a Boliva with his name and "6/12/58" engraved on the back, Grigor said he almost dropped the phone.
It turned out Herrick's mother owned a guest house and soda shop frequented by young Navy servicemen stationed in Virginia Beach. When they ran low on money, Herrick's mother would hold collateral until they could pay their bills, but some never came back. When Herrik's mother died, the watch was found a box unclaimed items from the guest house.
The Herriks did some searching on the Internet and found Grigor's phone number.
About a week after the initial phone conversation, Grigor received a package from Herrick containing the watch.
"Taking the watch out of the package, I held it for the first time in over 53 years with tears of joy in my eyes," Grigor said.
"It took special people to take the time and track down the real owner," Grigor told the newspaper. "(Pat and Mark) went above and beyond the call of duty. Although the watch is not very valuable, I will treasure it for the rest of my life. It will be left to my grandson after I'm gone, and he will know its story."