Eight gold pocket watches that were stolen from the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, Canada, on January 3 — including the one above, which belonged to Bill Miner, a legendary train robber — have been recovered and are back at the museum. On Wednesday Brian Gerald Holt and Stacey Croft of nearby Port Alberni were arrested for the heist, which took place on a crowded, pay-what-you-wish day at the museum, whose staff only noticed the missing objects the following day, United Press International reports.
A fingerprint on the case that had held the prized pocket watches matched a print in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s database.
“Once we got that hit it was game on and we were on their trail,” said RCMP constable Mike Russell. He added that the thieves had sold the watches to get drug money, but the RCMP were able to track the stolen artifacts.
“We are thrilled and delighted and excited to see them back,” said museum CEO Jack Lohman.
According to local paper the Times Colonist, the glass face of Miner’s pocket watch — which the famous thief, who was known as the “gentleman robber,” left behind when he escaped from the B.C. Penitentiary — was broken.
— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)
(Image: Famous train robber Bill Miner left this pocket watch behind when he escaped from BC Pen in 1907. Courtesy the Royal British Columbia Museum.)