LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Last month, thieves stole millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry from a Brink’s tractor trailer in a late-night robbery, and according to a new lawsuit from the security firm, one of the drivers slept in the vehicle during the robbery.
The Brink’s cargo trailer was en route to a jewelry show in Pasadena early in the morning of July 11 when it was robbed after the driver pulled over at a Lebec rest stop.
While the second driver was getting food at the rest area — nearly 30 minutes from the vehicle — the thieves stole 22 bags of jewelry from the vehicle and fled, according to the lawsuit Brinks filed against the 13 jewelers.
The lawsuit alleges the driver returned to the truck at 2:32 a.m. and saw the red plastic seal around the trailer cut open and lying on the ground.
The valuables were all part of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, a well-known national touring exhibition.
“Most certified diamonds have serial numbers engraved on the stone, you need a microscope to read them,” said Arnold Duke, the president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show. “All Rolex watches and the Cartier watches all have serial numbers. Much of this is traceable.”
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The 13 jewelers say their wares were worth nearly $100 million. Brinks says it was estimated at less than $10 million. If the $100 million figure is correct, it would be one of the largest jewelry thefts in modern history.
According to the complaint, “The pickup lists for the missing shipments declare a total value of $8,700,000. Local media reported that the value of the missing shipments exceeded $100,000,000.”
The security firm’s lawsuit alleges that the jewelers understated the value of the items being transported.
“They’re underinsured because supplemental insurance is very, very expensive, and because everyone trusts Brinks a million percent and they’ve never lost anything from us after all these years, people just feel really comfortable,” Duke explained.
Brink’s is trying to limit potential payouts to the jewelers, who say their cargo was worth $100 million and that the security firm is trying to deny their customers compensation for a theft “that their drivers practically invited.”
A spokeswoman for Brink’s declined to comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday, citing the pending litigation.
Attorneys for the jewelers in the state lawsuit did not respond to The Associated Press’s request for comment, nor did the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sergeant investigating the case.
Duke said the stolen items included gold jewelry, thousands of diamonds, about 100 Rolex and Cartier watches and rare gemstones.
The traveling show takes place every week in different locations across the country. Brink’s truck drove to the Pasadena Convention Center for the July 15-17 show.
Brink’s issued a statement back in July that read, in part, “According to information provided to us by customers prior to shipping their items, the total value of the missing items is less than $10 million. We are cooperating with law enforcement and will fully reimburse our customers for the value of their stolen assets under the terms of our contract.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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https://abc7.com/brinks-lawsuit-major-jewelry-theft-lebec-los-angeles-county/12159193/ Brink’s driver fell asleep during a massive jewelry robbery in SoCal, according to a lawsuit filed by the security company