Bodycam footage shows aftermath of multi-million dollar jewelry heist in Lebec
Bodycam footage has uncovered the moments following a multi-million dollar jewelry heist in Lebec.
Almost a year ago, two security guards made a pit stop at a Flying J while transporting at least $10 million worth of jewelry from a show in San Mateo down to one in Pasadena.
"We're talking about mom-and-pop jewelers," said attorney Jerry Kroll. "This is not lifestyles of the rich and famous."
Kroll represents 14 jewelers who filed a lawsuit against Brinks, which handled the transportation of the precious jewels. The bodycam footage shows two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies talking to the two armed guards the night of the heist. The two employees said that one was asleep in the cap and the other went inside to grab food. When he came back from the convenience store 20 minutes later, the guard noticed that the trailer's lock had been sawed off.
"The organizer of this show, Arnold Dauke, has told everybody that his estimation is that we're talking about $100 million of jewelry in this loss," said Kroll. "If that's the case, as Arnold says it is, that would be the largest jewelry heist, probably, in U.S. history."
In the body camera footage, one guard said the truck may have been targeted and followed by the San Mateo show. According to the guards, 24 of the 73 bags were stolen from the trailer.
"Led my clients to believe they were having armored transport — they even filed a lawsuit saying that this loss occurred on an armored tractor-trailer," said Kroll. "But as we've learned, this trailer was a regular old big rig. It was not armored. It's basically no different than the goods that are hauled — like groceries — to Von's."
In a statement, Brinks said that the jewelers undervalued their goods.
"Our customers trust us to cover them for any losses, however unlikely. In turn, we trust our customers to declare the full and correct value of the goods they ask us to transport. 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," spokesperson Dana Callahan said in a statement.
Callahan also said Brinks would have implemented additional security measures proportionate to the value of the jewels if the "customers had accurately declared the value of their goods."
"If these customers had accurately declared the value of their goods, Brink's would have implemented security measures commensurate with those higher transport values—and even in the event of a loss, we would have compensated the customers fully for their declared values," she said.
According to Brinks, they have settled claims with three of the jewelers affected by the theft.
"In this case, we held up our end and fulfilled our contract, settling claims with three affected customers," said Callahan." The others have chosen to litigate, admitting under oath that they undervalued their goods, and even did so regularly. While we are deeply disappointed by this breach of our trust and the plain language of our contracts, the courts have responded favorably to our position, and we remain willing to compensate these customers for the declared value of their goods."
Deputies are still investigating this heist. Brinks and the jewelers are due back in court next week.