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The Pilfered Watch of Mr. Von Geritchen

From the autobiographical notes of Captain Charles Albertson regarding his career in the New York City Police Department and his travels and adventures during retirement beginning in January 1905.


During the Presidential Campaign in the fall of 1880 a Mrs. Von Geritchen who kept a butcher shop in Spring Street market while attending a political meeting at Union Square lost a valuable presentation watch. He received it from a German Society of which he had the honor of being president. He not only felt badly for the loss of the watch but his pride was hurt to think that a pickpocket could get away with his watch and he not know it.

A few days after his loss, I was on post at the market and Mr. Von Geritchen was in conversation with two men a few feet away. A well dressed middle aged man came across Washington Street and inquired if he was Mr. Von Geritchen. Upon his saying that he was, the man said, “I have been requested to deliver this to you,” and handed him his watch. There was many thanks and much rejoicing and the four men went across the street into the Mohawk Hotel bar room to celebrate. They were gone but a few minutes when they came back and the man who had brought the watch started towards Hudson Street, went but a short distance, came back and handed Mr. Von Geritchen his watch for the second time. He said, “You must take better care of your property,” tipped his hat and walked away. You could have bought the owner of the watch for a small sum. Von Geritchen had a brother who was a detective in the police office and I believe this had something to do with the return of the watch.

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