In a robbery that seemed straight out of a Hollywood flick, gems and jewellery worth millions of dollars were stolen from a Brink’s high-security truck ferrying the merchandise from one convention show to another. The armored truck robbery occurred early in the morning on July 11 near Los Angeles in Southern California, news agency Associated Press reported, quoting local authorities.
The items had been loaded onto security company Brink’s armoured vehicle late on July 10 after an exhibit hosted by the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, south of San Francisco, Brandy Swanson, the group’s director, was quoted as saying. She said the truck was headed to an event at the Pasadena Convention Center near Los Angeles. The International Gem and Jewelry show hosts about 45 shows across the US every year, Swanson said.
According to her, 25 to 30 bags were stolen, and they contained an unknown number of individual pieces. As many as 18 victims have reported more than $100 million in losses, she was quoted as saying.
Dana Callahan, a spokeswoman for the security company, however, told AP that the loss was to the tune of less than $10 million.
‘Lost Entire Livelihoods’
The haul featured rare and vintage pieces stuffed into bags in the back of the truck, a New York Post article said.
In a statement, Brink’s said: “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.” It added: “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.”
Swanson said vendors travelling between jewelry shows usually underinsure their merchandise for the simple reason that they can’t afford to fully insure it. “That’s where the discrepancy comes in. These are mom-and-pop operators. They’re devastated. Some of these people have lost their entire livelihoods.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, meanwhile, said it is working with the local authorities on the case. Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, however, did not share any other details regarding the investigation.