On July 11, a Brink’s armored truck was robbed at the Flying J Truck Stop in Lebec, California. Exactly how much they made off with is in hot dispute but it’s definitely a lot. Enough to make it “one of the largest jewelry thefts in U.S. history.” The merchants who were robbed claim “between $100 million and $150 million worth of merchandise had been stolen.” The problem with that is they listed the cargo as a whole lot less, when they shipped it.
Brink’s won’t pay that much
Brink’s Global Services USA went to federal court in Manhattan, asking for a ruling that lets them off the hook for “the reported $100 million in jewelry stolen from one of its armored trucks last month.” It’s not their fault, they argue, that the victims “under-reported the value of their merchandise.”
As noted by industry authority JCK, the “heist made worldwide headlines after jewelers told the media that between $100 million and $150 million worth of merchandise had been stolen. That would make it one of the largest jewelry thefts in U.S. history.” They didn’t even clean out the truck.
There were a total of 73 bags stored in the truck. According to police, “22 were taken.” When the claims started coming in, Brink’s knew there was going to be a big problem.
A total of 13 jewelry companies made whopping claims but “only $8.7 million in total merchandise was declared on the trailer’s pickup manifest.” That means the take would have been less than $4 million. If they knew how much they were really carrying, the company would have taken more precautions. They filed a complaint in court August 4, “seeking a declaratory judgment.”
“Brink’s has good reason to believe that the defendants substantially under-declared the value of their shipments on the pickup manifest.” They take a customer’s word for the value of contents. Their contracts clearly limit “liability to no more than [an item’s] declared value.”
The baker’s dozen of companies are claiming a whole lot more in damages than they contracted for. It should be an open and shut case. They asked the court to confirm they aren’t “liable for the loss of those defendants who failed to…’properly and accurately‘ describe the actual monetary value of [their] property.”
You need enough insurance
John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance agrees with the carrier. As a general rule, he explains, “even when you are using very secure shipping methods such as Brink’s, you need enough insurance to cover the value of your goods.”
An extra added bonus for the public is that the lawsuit spells out all the gory details of how the theft happened. That’s something the media hasn’t reported much about until now.
Ever since the robbery happened, we knew that the Brink’s truck was on its way to the International Gem and Jewelry Show. The event is described as “a direct-to-consumer show held in Pasadena, California on July 15–17.”
That’s about all we knew. It turns out that the armored truck “was accompanied by two armed guards, one of whom took a nap in its sleeping berth, as per Department of Transportation regulations. The other guard drove the truck.”
The Brink’s driver pulled into the Flying J in Lebec, California around 2:05 a.m. and left his partner sleeping in the truck.
When he returned 27 minutes later, the driver “saw that the red plastic seal around the truck had been cut and was lying on the ground. Its rear lock was also cut.” The other guard allegedly slept right through it. “there were no surveillance devices in the parking lot.“