Stolen wallet returned to Spotsylvania County man 58 years later

Robert Williams (Photo courtesy Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-star)

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC/AP) — A wallet that was stolen nearly 60 years ago has been returned to a Spotsylvania County man.

78-year-old Robert Williams tells The Free Lance-Star that his wallet was taken 58 years ago while he was working at a gas station in Fredericksburg.

In 1958, Williams was working at an old Amoco gas station. He had just been paid $50 in cash, which was good money in those days. He put the cash in his wallet and set the billfold on the counter when a customer entered. Williams then went outside to pump gas (because attendants did that back in the day.) When Williams went back inside to find his wallet gone.

“That was a good lesson for me,” he told The Free Lance-Star. “You don’t leave your wallet lying around.”

It was recently returned to him by a North Carolina couple who found it inside their home, which was built in 1952.

Kelly Smith says her husband discovered the wallet stuck against a rafter in the ceiling of their pantry.

Smith searched online to find who it belonged to, using the address on the cards in the billfold. Her search led to Williams, and she wrote him a letter explaining how the wallet was found.

The wallet didn’t have any money inside, but did contain other items that made up for it in memories.

Williams, who is now a widower, opened his wallet to find high school photos of himself and his future wife Pat, his Social Security card, draft registration, driver’s license, vehicle identification and membership club for the Virginia National Guard and the Idlers, a hot-rod group from school.

(Photo courtesy Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-star)
(Photo courtesy Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-star)

Williams was so grateful, he sent Smith a two-page note and gift card to Cracker Barrel as a thank-you.

The Free Lance-Star/Fredericksburg.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report. You can read The Free Lance-Star’s full report here.

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