CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - It happened a decade ago, and more than 5,000 miles from Florida; a watch was stolen from a man in Italy back in 2008 but ended up in at a repair shop Clearwater.
Alberto Laboni says he was skeptical when he got a phone call over the summer saying his watch that was stolen 10 years ago had been located.
“First of all, I think this is a joke of my friend, my Italian friend,” he said.
The $21,000 Audemars Piguet watch was ripped off Alberto’s wrist while he was driving through Milan, Italy back in 2008. He says someone on a motorcycle intentionally sideswiped his mirror.
“And another guy came from behind and they picked up the watch,” said Alberto.
Alberto filed a police report, but never thought he would get the luxury Swiss timepiece back.
“No, no, no, of course, I forgot my watch after 3 to 6 months, I forgot it,” Alberto said.
Clearwater Police tell us the watch’s most recent owner took it to a local dealer to be serviced, and the serial number was flagged as stolen. That put into motion the effort to return the watch to its rightful owner.
However, it’s a mystery how the watch ended up here in the Sunshine State.
“The big question mark that we don’t know is where has the watch been for a decade, how many people have had the watch, how many times has it been sold over and over again,” said Rob Shaw with the Clearwater Police Department.
Friday afternoon, Alberto finally got his watch back.
“The police and the detective was so kind,” Ilaria Laboni said. “When we arrive to the Police Department they were waiting for us.”
“I’m very, very happy, and very, very, satisfied, and I think the police here in the USA work very, very professional,” said Alberto. “I’m very happy to come here and to keep my watch finally after ten years.”
The Laboni family spends the Christmas holiday in Miami every year, so it worked out well to drive to Clearwater to retrieve the long-lost watch.