FBI Investigates Multi-Million-Dollar Brinks Truck Jewel Heist
Items belonging to 18 exhibitors at the International Gem & Jewelry Show were stolen, valued at more than $100 million.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to a call about an armored truck break-in July 11, pulling up to a “Flying J” rest stop.
The scene before them was reminiscent of a silver screen heist à la Ocean’s Eleven.
The Brinks truck was loaded at the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, filled with jewelry, gems, and high-end watches.
The driver was transporting the goods to another event at the Pasadena Convention Center, Brandy Swanson, director of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, told the Associated Press.
Along the way, the driver pulled into a gas station in Lebec.
Unknown suspect(s) broke into the locked vehicle, stealing between 25 and 30 bags with merchandise belonging to 18 exhibitors, said Swanson.
The exhibitors reported their losses at more than $100 million, but a statement from Brinks calculated the losses at less than $10 million.
The discrepancy may be due to underinsurance, said Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, in an interview with ABC7 News.
“It’s a common practice for these jewelers to underinsure,” said Duke. “Simply because if you insure everything you have, it’s just very, very expensive. I’m talking about thousands of dollars every week, and they’re on the road 40-some weeks a year.”
In a statement, Brinks said, “We are working with law enforcement, and we will fully reimburse our customers for the value of their assets that were stolen, in accordance with the terms of our contract.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the FBI, is conducting a criminal investigation into the theft.
Those with information are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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