LA highway heist: Thieves make off with millions in gems, gold
International Gem and Jewelry Show president called it 'one of the largest jewelry heists ever'
Jewelry thieves struck a heavily-guarded truck outside Los Angeles this month and made off with tens of millions of dollars in gems.
The burglars descended on a Brink's Security vehicle in the wee hours of July 11 at about 2 a.m.
After two security guards, both armed, stepped away from the truck for a few minutes, the robbers made their move.
The group of men made off with containers full of gems and gold that totaled in the tens of millions of dollars.
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The robbers pulled off the entire stunt in less than half an hour.
"We are looking at more than $100 million in documented losses," International Gem and Jewelry Show President Arnold Duke told the Los Angeles Times. "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."
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Standard Brinks security trucks are armored vehicles equipped with a variety of safety features and armed personnel. Anti-theft measures on company vehicles have included satellite tracking, a locking mechanism and security cameras.
The July 11 theft included stolen items ranging from cut gems to luxury watches, gold and jewelry. The losses could threaten several businesses whose merchandise was on the truck.
"There were 15 exhibitors each with $5 [million] to $10 million in merchandise," Duke 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."
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Los Angeles is not the only city in California with serious concerns combating cargo theft.
Robbers in San Francisco are targeting victims with high-end watches worth thousands of dollars, authorities said.
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Since June, the San Francisco Police Department has been notified of at least 20 armed robberies involving wrist wear.
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"This is an organized group of suspects who are getting together. They are specifically targeting people, and we do believe there is some level of surveillance or following beforehand," police Sgt. Adam Lobsinger told Fox San Francisco.