An Italian paramedic has been branded a thief accused of stealing a $3,000 Rolex watch from the late 'Sopranos' actor James Gandolfini as he lay dying from a major heart attack in Rome back in 2013. The trial began this week and notes that the watch was noticed to be missing by those close to him soon after his death.

James GandolfiniParamedic implicated in James Gandolfini's missing watch case

A 43-year-old man named Claudio Bevilacqua is on trial for the robbery of a Rolex Submariner reportedly in the possession of James Gandolfini when he died on vacation in Rome, Italy on June 27th 2013. The paramedic was one of the first on the scene when Gandolfini had his heart attack, and it is not yet known if the watch was physically removed from the actor's body or if it was taken from elsewhere in his Boscolo Exedra Hotel room, located in Piazza della Repubblica, where he was staying ahead of his appearance at the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily.

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Gandolfini, best known for playing mobster patriatch Tony Soprano in the long-running crime drama series 'The Sopranos', died in hospital from a cardiac arrest at the age of 51 three years ago. His 13-year-old son Michael alerted hotel reception when he found his father in unresponsive in his bathroom and they supsequently phoned for an ambulance.

TMZ reported in 2013 that the watch had been reported missing by his people to the insurance company, but no-one was implicated in a theft despite the fact that it was officially noted as 'stolen'. Two members of security at the hotel had also noticed that the timepiece was missing.

On Monday (May 16th 2016), a brief hearing took place to discuss the case, though Bevilacqua was not present in court and the trial has now been adjourned until November according to the Telegraph.