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Millions In Jewelry Stolen From Brinks Armored Truck At L.A.-Area Rest Stop

The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating the robbery of a Brinks Armored Truck over the weekend, from which between $10 and $150 million in jewelry was stolen. 

By Constance Johnson
Police Lights Night G

Multiple law enforcement agencies — including the FBI — are searching for the suspects that got away with millions of dollars’ worth of jewels and gems after robbing a Brinks armored truck last week in the Los Angeles-area.

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department'w Santa Clarita Station responded to a call on July 11 about the burglary of a cargo container at the “Flying J” rest stop and gas station in Lebec — about 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles — according to a press release.

Deputies discovered that several pieces of rare jewelry and gemstones were stolen from a locked “Brinks” tractor trailer by unknown suspects, police said.

Two-armed security guards had temporarily left the truck and, when they returned, the cargo was gone, police told CBS Los Angeles.

The truck was heading to an event in Los Angeles after a show in the San Francisco Bay area, the station reported.

Los Angeles Sheriff Sgt. Michael Mileski told the station that it’s unknown if the suspects followed the truck on the 375-mile journey or simply spotted it at the rest stop.

“They did leave San Mateo on Sunday night [July 11], destined for Los Angeles and the Pasadena Convention Center. And sometime [the next morning], they were robbed,” Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo told KABC.

“There was a large number of Rolex, Cartier and Frank Muller watches. These are luxury watches that sell for $10,000 and up,” Duke said.

He estimates that between 30 to 40 percent of the items on the truck were stolen.

“FBI and police investigators, detectives were at our show in Pasadena this weekend interviewing everybody, including my employees, because anybody that was there could potentially be some kind of suspect,” Duke told KABC.

The estimated value of the stolen jewelry ranges from $10 to 150 million dollars.

Brinks said, in part, "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. 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."

Duke said the value of the stolen items was up to $150 million, according to KABC

"It's a common practice for these jewelers to underinsure," he said. "Simply because if you insure everything you have, it's very — 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."

He added: "They've been handling this merchandise for many, many years with no problems, no losses. It's easy to understand why people underinsure."

“These victims are mom and pop operators, but the value that was in those lockers is worth more than people understand,” Brandy Swanson director of the International Gem & Jewelry Show told the Times of San Diego. “That’s their life. Their whole life savings is now gone.”

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