Stolen photo makes its journey home after 70 years

Stolen photo makes its journey home after 70 years »Play Video
Jim Williams sent this letter of apology to Ruby Hazen and returned the photo of her (right) that he stole 70 years ago.

SILVER LAKE, Wash. – It took 70 years but a woman's long lost photo has made its way home.

Jim Williams' guilty conscience has created some lasting memories. And perhaps it's only appropriate that Ruby Hazen lives on Memory Lane. That's where Williams found her when he wanted to get the picture of her back to her.

"In that day, everybody had somebody for their locker, and he didn't have one until then," Hazen says today.

In 1943 Williams was in the Coast Guard. He swiped the picture of Hazen off a family end table. The two had been on a date.

He took it with him around the world while he was in the Coast Guard. He now lives in Illinois.

During a trip to the West Coast in September, he tracked Hazen down and then sent the picture back with a dozen roses and a letter apologizing for it all.

But in that letter, he said he "reluctantly" was giving it back.

The two were never romantic but Hazen has a soft spot in her heart for a guy who served his country and thought enough of her to steal her picture and keep it in such good shape for 70 years.

"I made a copy of the picture and sent it to him," Hazen says. "It's waiting for him in Springfield. So he has that void filled."

Williams told Hazen he intended to give the picture back just after he took it. But he was shipped out from his station at Depoe Bay to Florida.

He got away with the picture by taking the photo out of the frame, stashing the frame under a sofa cushion, and hiding the picture under his uniform.