Man charged with stealing 5 watches worth $1 million in heist at Bentley Gold Coast
Police say they used surveillance video to track suspect’s movements downtown and eventually locate someone whose phone led them to arrest.
A man accused of stealing $1 million worth of watches at a Gold Coast luxury car dealership was arrested after detectives found a bystander who had let the suspect make phone calls during his escape, authorities said.
Carlos Valliant stood guard by a door as an accomplice broke a glass case with a mallet at the Bentley Gold Coast dealership on Dec. 11, prosecutors said Friday.
The accomplice — who is still at large — grabbed five watches worth around $1 million inside the store at 834 N. Rush St. Police said Valliant was holding a weapon, possibly pepper spray.
The two ran off after employees who were concealed carry holders drew their own weapons, prosecutors said. The man with the mallet drove off in the Maserati the pair had arrived in, while Valliant ran north on State and east on Delaware.
Police used surveillance video to track his movements downtown and locate a person whose phone led to the arrest, police said.
“Detectives worked for a month tracking this individual on foot traveling around the Loop as he changed clothes and eventually crossed the bridge,” Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Friday.
Valliant, 38, eventually asked someone to use his phone near State and Monroe streets and placed two calls, prosecutors said. Valliant then got a ride from the man.
Police tracked the man to a video store and used purchase records there to locate him, prosecutors. Call records from his phone led police to Hammond, Indiana.
Hammond police reviewed surveillance video of Valliant’s escape and identified him from his distinctive walk and from a moment when he removed his face mask, police said.
An arrest warrant was signed Jan. 20 and he was arrested Thursday.
In custody, Valliant admitted he was the man in surveillance video but he denied participating in the burglary, prosecutors said. He claimed he had met the other man shortly before the theft, but didn’t understand what the man was telling him so he followed the man to the dealership, prosecutors said.
At the time, Valliant was on bond in Indiana for unauthorized use of a weapon by a felon.
Dealership co-owner Joe Perillo thanked police Supt. David Brown for keeping his promise to arrest the thief.
“I want to give kudos to David Brown. He said they’d catch him and they did,” Perillo said Friday.
He said he hoped the judge would issue a high bond to discourage similar heists in the future. “If they catch and release him, then all their hard work was spent in vain,” he said.
Valliant was ordered held on $95,000 bail on charges of theft and burglary.