Industry / Shows

Jewelers Lose Millions In Brink’s Armored Car Heist


Depending on who one listens to, the July 11 heist of a Brink’s armored car that was headed to a gem and jewelry show in Pasadena, Calif., may or may not rank among the largest jewelry thefts in American history.

Initial reports, quoting affected jewelers, put the total loss at between $100 million and $150 million—a jaw-dropping sum that would be considered one of the largest U.S. jewel thefts ever. However, a subsequent Brink’s statement put the total loss at “less than $10 million.”

“That is based on the amounts that shippers told us,” says Brink’s spokesperson Dana Callahan. “That’s the contracted value.”

Brandy Swanson, a director at the International Gem and Jewelry Show, a direct-to-consumer event that hosts 60 shows a year, told the Associated Press that the “discrepancy” is likely the result of “mom and pop” companies that “underinsure” their merchandise.

Whether the heist did, in fact, break a record, Swanson said it may have broken several of the show’s exhibitors, some of whom lost “their entire livelihoods.”

“They’re devastated,” she said.

At least 18 companies were victimized, Swanson said. The stolen property was said to include high-end watches as well as gold and diamond jewelry.

The robbery reportedly took place in the early morning in the desert city of Lancaster, Calif. The armored car was reportedly headed from a show in San Mateo to another event in Pasadena, which was held July 15–17.

According to the local ABC affiliate, the car was found abandoned later that day. No further details have been released.

The Brink’s statement adds: “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.”


The FBI has said it is working with local law enforcement on the theft.

Photo courtesy of the FBI

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By: Rob Bates

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