Los Angeles – Millions of dollars were stolen from an armored truck parked at a rest stop near Los Angeles earlier this month and the heist has law enforcement scrambling to investigate. The heist happened between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. July 11 at a Flying J rest stop and gas station near Lebec, California, about 80 miles north of Los Angeles, the LA County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
A tractor trailer operated by Brinks was transporting the high-value items from a jewelry show in San Mateo to another show in Pasadena, according to Arnold Duke, head of the International Gem & Jewelry Show.
CNN reports that sixteen merchants were affected in the theft of 20 large footlockers that weigh about 100 pounds each, Duke said. The lockers held gemstones, Rolex watches and thousands of loose diamonds, some of which were priced close to $500,000 each wholesale. Some custom, one-of-a-kind finished pieces were also stolen from the truck, Duke added.
Officials state that the quantity of gems and jewelry wouldn’t fit in one car. “It’s a staggering amount of jewelry and for it to be left alone is unconscionable,” Duke stated.
Some of the smaller merchants involved lost about $700,000 in merchandise, while larger corporations lost merchandise valued at up to $12 million, according to estimates from Duke.
Duke said many jewelers don’t insure what they are shipping at full value as the cost of the insurance can be extremely high, and they rely on the safety precautions taken by Brinks trucks and their drivers.
The FBI is assisting the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in the ongoing criminal investigation into the theft.
No suspects were identified as of Tuesday.