Millions of dollars worth of jewelry and gems were stolen last week in Southern California, authorities revealed this weekend. A Brink's truck was robbed on July 11 near Los Angeles, carrying merchandise from the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo to an event at the Pasadena Convention Center.
"It did leave San Mateo on Sunday night, destined for Los Angeles and the Pasadena Convention Center," Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show told ABC7 News. "And sometime on Monday morning, they were robbed."
The International Gem and Jewelry Show hosts about 45 events a year, so Brink's was transporting the items into storage between exhibitions. According to Duke, the items stolen included diamonds, gold, and luxury brand watches, around 30 to 40% of the truck's inventory. "There was a large number of Rolex, Cartier and Franck Muller watches. These are luxury watches that sell $10,000 and up," Duke added. "Every one of those has a unique serial number that can't be erased. So all of those watches are traceable."
"According to the information the customers provided to us before they shipped their items, the total value of the missing items is less than $10 million," Brink's said in a statement. "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 value is in dispute of what was stolen. One anonymous jeweler told the New York Times that the total value of stolen items is actually between $20 million and $50 million. Plus, Brandy Swanson, the director of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, said between 25 and 30 bags of jewels and gems were taken from the truck, belonging to 18 individual exhibitors. Swanson estimated the loss above $100 million. Duke, the group's president, said the value could be up to $150 million.
"It's a common practice for these jewelers to underinsure," Duke said. "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."
"They've been handling this merchandise for many, many years with no problems, no losses. It's easy to understand why people under insure," the the International Gem and Jewelry Show president added.
The FBI is now investigating the heist alongside local authorities.
You Might Also Like