Employee Stole $1M Worth of Swiss Army Watches: Cops

By LeAnne Gendreau
|  Thursday, Sep 20, 2012  |  Updated 4:13 PM EDT
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Employee Is Behind $1M Watch Theft: Cops

Gilberto Nieves is accused of stealing more than $1 million in watches from Victorinox/Swiss Army in Monroe.

An employee of the company that makes Swiss Army knives and watches has been arrested, accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of watches. 

Police made the arrest on Thursday, after investigating for almost a year.

Officials from Victorinox, Swiss Army in Monroe contacted police in October 2011 when they were conducting inventory of the products at the warehouse located at 7 Victoria Drive and discovered that hundreds of wristwatches were missing. 

In January 2011, no discrepancies were found, but random pieces disappeared over the next couple months, according to police. 

In September, another full inventory was done, revealing a “large scale” loss of wristwatches.

At this point, the value of the missing watches had ballooned to a market value of $1,076,000.

As police investigated, they determined that an employee had taken the watches from the Victorinox property and sent them to multiple locations in and out of state. 

The trail led Monroe police to San Marcos, Texas, where they served a search warrant and recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen watches.

Information gained in Texas led to more search warrants and recoveries here in Connecticut, police said, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was brought into the investigation until officials determined that this would stay in Connecticut courts.

Police have charged Gilberto Nieves, 38, of 225 Edgewood St, in Stratford.

He was the product repair manager for Victorinox Swiss Army and had access to new watches and the second hand watches.

Police said he devised a way to remove a small number of watches from the property without being noticed by company security.

Over time, the smaller thefts added up to more than $1 million, according to police.

Nieves was charged with larceny in the first degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree. 

Bond was court set at $150,000. 

Nieves is due in court on Sept. 21. 

Additional arrests are pending. 

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