The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to figure out what happened after a group of thieves robbed an armored truck at a truck stop of $100 million worth of jewels.
In the early morning on July 11th of this year, two armed guards left their Brink’s security big-rig truck unattended as they stepped inside a Flying J truck stop on Interstate 5 in California.
In the 27 minutes they were away from the vehicle, a group of thieves who were waiting at the stop for the truck managed to break in and make off with the entirety of the payload, totaling between $10 million and $100 million. That would make this one of the biggest heists in the history of the world.
According to law enforcement who responded to the robbery, the thieves managed to bust into the armored vehicle and used the storage containers to haul away the huge cache of gems, gold, and other valuables from the supposedly secured truck.
The exact amount taken in the heist is being fiercely debated with Brink’s claiming it was under $10 million based on the insurance claim while federal law enforcement investigating the robbery as well as a source associated with the International Gem and Jewelry Show said it was closer to $100 million worth of goods.
“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, who has a history of investigating armored car and bank capers. Mileski suggested that $10 million was the bare minimum of the amount stolen.
Now the questions are whether or not the team of thieves had advanced knowledge of the truck’s route and how many were involved in the theft. Mileski said, “We believe several thieves had to be involved.” He also noted that the lock on the truck would not have been particularly hard for skilled thieves to crack despite the valuable payload.
What makes this unique is that it was not legally a robbery but more of a stealth burglary since robberies involve using force or coercion on an individual.
Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show who displayed the valuables in San Mateo, also weighed in on the crime.
“We are looking at more than $100 million in documented losses,” he said. “This was an absolutely huge crime. One of the largest jewelry heists ever. We are talking gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and loads of luxury watches.”
“There were 15 exhibitors each with $5 [million] to $10 million in merchandise,” he added. “These are small businesses with their entire wealth vested in that truck. It has destroyed them financially and it affected their health in some cases.”
Who stole the goods, how they knew where to be, and how they knew about the massive haul of valuables still remains a mystery to law enforcement. Do you think there was an inside-man on the job who gave them a heads up? Will the feds ever catch them and recover the stolen items?