SAN MATEO (KPIX) — A jewelry show that was supposed to travel from the Bay Area to Southern California was disrupted by a multimillion dollar heist along the way.
A number of vendors say their entire life work is gone — stolen from an armored truck. Those vendors claim the total loss in the heist is estimated to be as much as $150 million.
One of the jewelers whose one-of-a-kind valuables were among the pricey jewels stolen from a Brinks truck in northern Los Angeles County, shared photos of his inventory with KPIX.
“My life. That’s how I live. That’s how I feed my kids,” said the victim who did not want to give his name.
The high-end jewelry was last seen at a trade show at the San Mateo Event Center last weekend.
“You’re looking at 19 karat yellow gold with over 100 carats of multicolored sapphire,” the jeweler said of his merchandise.
He says he doesn’t have a showroom.
All of his business is done by traveling to trade shows.
On Sunday night, merchandise belonging to 18 jewelers was loaded onto a Brinks truck bound for the Pasadena Convention Center.
“Sunday you had merchandise. Today you don’t have anything,” the jeweler said.
The victims were participating in the International Gem and Jewelry Show.
The FBI confirms it’s working with the LA County sheriff’s department on the case but the jewelers haven’t been able to get a straight answer from Brinks.
“They’re returning sometimes our calls but there’s no information,” the victim told KPIX.
The trade show manager says about two dozen lockers were stolen from the armored vehicle early Monday morning.
Some of the vendors had built their inventory over 40 years.
“It’s their whole life. Some of these people are completely done at this point,” said Brandy Swanson, International Gem and Jewelry Show manager.
KPIX reached out to Brinks for comment and received the following statement.
Earlier this week, a loss incident involving a Brink’s vehicle occurred near Los Angeles. 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. 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.