Brinks Truck Robbed in What Might Be the Most Valuable Jewel Heist in History

Do jewel heists even exist anymore? Apparently, they do. On July 11, a Brinks Security truck was robbed blind while unattended in a Flying J parking lot near LA. The thieves were thought to have made out with potentially $10 million in jewelry and jewels. As the investigation continues, authorities believe the loot was far more valuable than that. We know car theft is up, but this is a bit more than jacking someone’s Kia. 

White Brinks armored security truck parked in front of a building
White Brinks armored security truck parked in front of a building | Getty Images

What happened with the Brinks truck? 

According to The Drive, this jewel heist is one of the most valuable heists in history. Other heists that can hang with this one are the robbery of the Harry Winston heist of 2008 in Paris or the 2003 “heist of the century” at the Antwerp Diamond Centre in Belgium. 

The Drive points out that although jacking an unattended Brinks truck isn’t quite as exciting as picking locks, dodging infrared sensors, or outsmarting seismic detectors, it still paid out on a scale rarely seen. 

The idea is that the thieves most likely tricked the truck carrying loot from the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo. Once the two armed guards left the truck unattended in the Flying J parking lot, the thieves made out with the loot in under 27 minutes. Supposedly, the thieves simply bypassed the truck’s door locks. Brinks initially reported that the heist was worth around $10 million. They were far from the mark on that estimation. 

How much was the Brinks Jewel heist worth? 

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Brink’s customers from the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, California – whose property was traveling in the armored truck when it got pinched – calculated the loot’s value at well over $100 million, reports the Los Angeles Times

“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,” said Brinks in its initial statement. “We are working with law enforcement, and we will fully reimburse our customers for the value of their stolen assets, in accordance with the terms of our contract.”

Brandy Swanson, the director of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, reported that the 18 victims of the heist declared the theft a loss of over $100 million worth of gems, jewels, and jewelry. That estimation is also backed up by the show’s president, Arnold Duke. 

“We are looking at more than $100 million in documented losses. 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,” Duke told the Los Angeles Times. “There were 15 exhibitors each with $5 [million] to $10 million in merchandise.”

The FBI has been brought in

One of the biggest questions is why Brinks thought there was so much less value in the cargo? It would seem Insurance is tough to navigate no matter the arena. Swanson explained that many jewelers couldn’t afford to insure their goods fully, so they reported lower values. Given the fact that each customer lost $5 million to $10 million each, Duke says that the burglary has financially destroyed some of the businesses and has even affected the health of some victims.

The FBI and local police are still investigating the heist. 

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