A large collection of gems, jewels, gold and more stolen from a Brinks truck stopped at a truck stop earlier this month was likely tracked from one gem show to the truck stop parking lot, investigators say.
The Brink’s truck full of precious gems and jewelry was left alone at the Flying J truck stop in Lebec, California on Frazier Mountain Park Road on the early morning of July 11th. The two armed guards left the truck alone for 27 minutes, allowing the burglars to bypass the truck’s locking mechanism and haul away the 70-to-100 pound storage containers of valuables. Initially valued at the $10 million the load was insured for, investigators now say the load was likely worth considerably more than that.
“We are talking multi millions here. It is a huge amount of money,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau Sgt. Michael Mileski to the Los Angeles Times.
Mileski refused to describe the locking mechanism on the truck, but claims that it would not be that difficult to bypass. Mileski also says that, because of the short window of time the truck was left alone “we believe several thieves had to be involved.”
Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, says that the gems were on their way from San Mateo to Pasadena. He declined to disclose the security measures used at the shows, but mentioned that everyone who enters the show is photographed, the transport truck is equipped with satellite tracking, elaborate camera systems, and armed guards, and the exact route of travel is kept a secret.
FBI agents and other investigators have searched the Flying J truck stop for clues, but say it is likely that the truck was tracked from Mateo to the truck stop. Potential witnesses, owners of the jewels, and everyone who knew about the transportation route have been interviewed about the incident. Security videos if the nearly-half-hour window that the truck was left alone has also been examined.
“Obviously, we aren’t about to say what we have at this stage,” Mileski said.
Brinks has declined to comment other than to release this statement:
“Last week, a loss incident involving a Brink’s vehicle occurred near Los Angeles. 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.”