2:47 PM PDT, July 20, 2022
An estimated $150 million worth of precious gems and jewelry were stolen out of an armored vehicle at a rest stop in California.
The thieves pulled off the heist at a remote truck stop called the Flying J, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles.
Authorities say the two Brink’s guards left their truck unattended. When they came back, the guards say they found the vehicle had been broken into and all the gems were gone.
Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, says the treasure included rubies, emeralds, sapphires and “thousands of diamonds” from 1 to 15 carat stones. It being transported by Brink’s to a show in Pasadena.
“It’s just staggering, the amount of merchandise these thieves got away with,” Duke said.
The haul was apparently insured for just $10 million, but Duke says the real value is much higher — somewhere in the range of $100 million to $150 million.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office says the vehicle was a “Brink’s tractor trailer” — much larger than the typical armored trucks most people are used to seeing.
“This wasn’t any kind of a smash and grab. This took time. I would guess about 30 minutes with a half a dozen guys. There was approximately 20 large footlockers. It takes two strong people to pick one up,” Duke said.
The FBI and local police are being tight-lipped about the heist, but security expert Lou Palumbo believes it may be an inside job.
“It’s very possible that this was the byproduct of leaked information from within the Brink’s organization,” Palumbo said.