The vintage, one-of-a-kind jewels jacked from a Brink’s armored truck in California were supposed to be worth a paltry $8.7 million — not the whopping $150 million the gem owners claimed after the theft.
Brink’s contends multiple jewel companies undervalued the gems ripped off last month on its watch during the “Ocean’s 11” style heist, according to a Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.
Brink’s insists it’s not liable for the hefty losses now being claimed by the jewelers.
Brink’s Global Services USA, Inc. is suing 13 jewelry vendors for breach of contract, claiming they put a much different value for the goods on the merchandise manifest, according to the Aug. 4 filing.
“Providing a declared value significantly below the actual value of the shipment, without the written consent of Brink’s, constitutes fraud against Brink’s and may constitute insurance fraud,” according to court papers.
The company wants a judge to declare that it’s not responsible for the sky high $150 million valuation used by the jewelers, but instead is only liable for the lower amount.
In all, 22 bags of jewels were stolen from the back of the truck July 11 as it drove from one industry convention in San Mateo to another in Pasadena, authorities and vendors said. The FBI is investigating.
The truck left San Mateo at midnight and shortly after 2 a.m., the armed guards hit a rest stop in Frazier Park, Calif., where one went in for food and the other guard stayed behind and got some sleep, Brink’s said in court papers.
About 30 minutes later the guard returned to find “the red plastic seal around the trailer was cut and lying on the ground,” and found the rear lock cut away, Brink’s said in the legal filing. The dozing armed guard told his partner he “did not see or hear anything unusual” and the duo called the cops.
Brandy Swanson, the director of the San Mateo jewelry show, previously said the jewelers robbed of their gems had lost more than $100 million in the theft. Vendors claimed the figure was as high as $150 million.
Swanson noted it was her experience that jewelry owners tend to underestimate their pricey inventory when it comes to insurance, to keep costs low.
“That’s where the discrepancy comes in,” she said.
Brink’s did not immediately return messages.