A new report has revealed details in the investigation into a gigantic heist that took place in California last year.
On July 11, 2022, thieves broke a lock on a Brink’s tractor-trailer and made off with millions of dollars worth of jewelry and gems. The merchandise was being transported from the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo to another trade show about 370 miles away at the Pasadena Convention Center.
The vehicle contained pieces from several different jewelers. Brink’s has since said that the late-night theft took place while one driver was asleep in the vehicle’s sleeping berth, while the other was inside a Lebec, Calif., truck stop getting food, The Los Angeles Times reported. It all took place within a 27-minute window of time.
There has been some debate about how much the stolen merchandise was valued. Some have described it as being less than $10 million, while others have reported it as being around $100 million. The figure is also an important factor in two lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of the theft. If the latter estimate is correct, the heist would be one of the biggest in American history.
But a new report that sheds more light on the theft. Sergeant Michael Mileski confirmed to New York Magazine that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau and the FBI were considering if it might have been some sort of inside job. He added that authorities had served warrants at residents and businesses for records and to search property, though no further information was given about their efforts.
The magazine also reported that the stolen bags weren’t the easiest to grab. The thieves took bags that were located in the back, which might indicate that they were handpicked. However, it has also been suggested that they had tags that might have indicated their value.
“Reading the police report that we had, it’s just kind of hard to believe it’s just a coincidence that some people decided to steal the Brink’s truck,” jeweler Jean Malki, whose jewelry was taken in the theft, told the magazine. “And they knew when they were going to leave. They knew where they’re going to stop. They knew how long they’re going to stop.”
Brink’s has filed a lawsuit against jewelers to limit the payouts they may receive, alleging that they should only be responsible for the amount they bought insurance for. But 14 of the 15 victims countersued Brink’s seeking $200 million, according to New York. Three jewelers have since settled with the security company.
“I think Brink’s is trying to hold that money as a tactic to get these people to capitulate,” Gerald L. Kroll, the lawyer representing the victims, told New York. “Most of these people have lost everything. These are mom-and-pop businesses. This is not the lifestyle of the rich and famous.”
Brink’s told New York it couldn’t comment on an active investigation but promised that it “strives to implement the best security practices to protect our customers’ assets.” The company did not immediately respond to a Robb Report inquiry. Inquiries to Kroll from Robb Report were also not immediately returned.
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