EXCLUSIVE: Victim in jewelry heist recounts the night his rare pieces were taken

LAS VEGAS - The suspect of a brazen multi-million dollar burglary of rare watches that took place in a popular Las Vegas hotel is facing sentencing, so the victim is speaking out.

Jeff Harris, a rare watch dealer, and collector, spoke exclusively with 8 News NOW about the incident that occurred in April.  Like something out of a movie, the watch dealer who owns some of the rarest timepieces in the world was in town attending the International Watch and Jewelry Guild Show when his room at the Rio Hotel was burglarized by Filippo Cuomo.

"He followed me into the elevator, Harris said.  "He petted my dog and followed me around the entire next day.  He was basically just watching where I was getting off on the elevator."

Surveillance video at the hotel captured Cuomo near Harris' room, but it was too late.  On one of the nights of the show, Harris returned to his room to find his door pried open with a crow bar, and the safe where he stashed his rare watches, was gone. The thief had ripped it from the wall.

"In that safe was my collection of watches that I've had for many many years some of the rarest pieces in the world," said Harris.

There was a collection of rare Rolexes that were ruby and sapphire encrusted.  There was even an Audemars Piguet like few in the world.  According to Harris, the collection was worth millions.    
 
After Cuomo had escaped with the goods, he was tracked to Miami where he was caught by authorities who extradited him back to Las Vegas.  But there was no sign of the watches.

It's a case that has taken a team of private investigators from Las Vegas to Miami, Argentina, and Italy.

"We believe that it originated in Miami and we have a pretty good idea of who set it up, so we've been traveling two continents chasing people who fled after they caught this guy Philippo Cuomo," said Joe Carrillo, a private investigator.   

Harris says he's hopeful that his watches will be returned.

"I can recover the watches, that's all I care about is recovery," Harris said.  "It's a devastating hit to me financially."

Despite the actual cash value, Harris says Cuomo pleaded guilty to a larceny charge under $3,500.  When sentenced Cuomo could get between a year to five years in prison.


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