The White House is denying Albanian media reports that an enthusiastic souvenir hunter stole President Bush's watch from his wrist during a sea of handshaking Sunday near Tirana.

Dozens of Albanians shook the president's hands and grabbed his arms during a stop in a town north of the capital.

Albanian television pictures show Mr. Bush wearing his watch as one man grasped his arm and seemed to grab at the timepiece. Seconds later, the watch was gone.

Albanian newspapers and other media reports say the watch was stolen.

But the White House says the president paused for a moment to slip the watch in his pocket before plunging his hands back into the crowd.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.