Missing jewelry has customers wound up

April 20, 2009 9:52:52 PM PDT
Since we first told you three weeks ago about a west side jeweler who shut his doors with no warning, Houston police and the Harris County District Attorney's Office have received more than two dozen complaints. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Once our story aired, police say the calls from customers poured in prompting police to begin an investigation. Detectives say dozens of customers are searching for their jewelry with police estimating the total value is more than $100,000 lost.

Bob Harvey says he first made a visit to Heritage Jewelers about a year ago to get his Rolex watch overhauled.

"Not long after that it started malfunctioning again," he told us.

So Harvey says he took it back for more repairs. A few weeks later he went in to pick it up.

"The place was shut tight," he recalled. "I was quite astounded."

Harvey estimates his missing Rolex is worth around $3,500 and says he was even more shocked to find out he is one of at least 27 former customers who have made similar reports to police.

"It's amazing that he could take everybody's possessions and walk off with them," Harvey said.

But police believe there could be as many as 70 customers looking for jewelry left for either consignment or repairs and watches from Timex to Rolex.

"They are wondering where their watches are," said Officer M.R. Bortmas with the Houston Police Department. "We are wondering where they are too."

Investigators say they are looking for Gerard Milici who is the husband and business partner of the owner of Heritage Jewelers.

"I haven't talked to Mr. Milici yet, I haven't been able to find him," admitted Officer Bortmas.

Officer Bortmas says according to reports given by customers, the missing jewelry is valued at $100,000 and climbing.

"It goes anywhere from $200 to the highest I've seen is $15,000," Officer Bortmas told us.

Eyewitness News has learned Milici has a criminal past. Court records show past charges of theft and DWI. He was also was named a defendant in several past civil cases.

While Milici has not currently been charged with a crime, police say they are sorting out what his intentions are and where the jewelry went.

"My job is to get my complainants' jewelry back, that's part of my focus," said Officer Bortmas.

Bob Harvey says he has little hope he'll see his Rolex again.

"I hope we see a little justice out of this," Harvey told us. "It's amazing the guy could figure he could pull up stakes, walk away and leave nothing behind, that's crazy."

HPD says it is focused on trying to get the jewelry back. Any charges would be filed through the Consumer Fraud Division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

If you know where Gerard Milici is, you've done business with him or you think you may be a victim, you're asked to call the Houston Police Department at 281-584-4745.

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