A security guard from Brink’s, a private security firm, was asleep during the break-in of an armored car last month in which thieves escaped with approximately $100 million in gems, a lawsuit from the jewelers claimed Monday.
In a pair of dueling lawsuits filed by the jewelers and security company this month, the jewelers claimed gross negligence when one guard spent nearly half an hour inside a Flying J for dinner while the other was asleep in the transport vehicle. The guard who was asleep said he had not heard or seen anything unusual during the break-in, according to the suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“We have a driver who’s supposedly asleep. We have a driver who’s having a meal for, what, 27 minutes? We have a truck that’s parked in an area that is pretty dark, no cameras. I don’t think it takes a lot to realize that this is, at a minimum — at a minimum — gross negligence,” attorney Gerry Kroll, who represents the jewelers, said, according to Inside Edition.
The jewelers are requesting $100 million in restitution and an additional $100 million in damages for the victims, according to the Associated Press.
“Everyone in our group has been emotionally and financially destroyed,” the plaintiffs told the outlet Tuesday. “We are lost and do not know what comes next in our lives. Whatever plans we all have for the future for our businesses and our families has evaporated in an instant.”
Brink’s claimed in its lawsuit that it should not have to pay a penny if the jewelers lied about how much the gems were worth, according to the documents obtained by the outlet. Earlier reports, including from the jewelers themselves, claimed the thieves had made off with nearly $10 million in gems, but later reports indicated the number could be much higher, at $100 million, according to the outlet.
The merchandise was moved into the truck on July 10 after an exhibit for the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, which is about 20 miles outside of San Francisco. On July 11, the goods were in the process of being transported to an event located at the Pasadena Convention Center near Los Angeles when the incident occurred.
The theft is believed to have transpired between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. at a gas stop near Frazier Park, 70 miles north of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The thieves stole 22 bags of jewelry from the vehicle and fled, according to the Brink’s lawsuit. Most of the items should be trackable due to serial numbers etched into the stones, Arnold Duke, the president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show, said. However, no recoveries have been reported so far.
“Most of the certified diamonds do have serial numbers engraved in the stones. You need a microscope to read it,” Duke said, according to ABC7. “All the Rolex watches and the Cartier watches all have serial numbers. A lot of this is trackable.”
Brink’s is one of the largest transporters of valuable goods in the world. The company has been hired to transport money from the U.S. Mint to the Federal Reserve, according to Duke.