New details emerged Tuesday in the “Ocean’s 11’’-style heist of a Brink’s armored truck in California that netted up to $150 million in jewels — including that the priceless gems were hijacked at a rest stop.
Last week’s robbery occurred when the high-security vehicle pulled over at the “Flying J’’ travel stop and gas station on its way from one gem show in San Mateo to another in Pasadena outside Los Angeles, authorities told a local ABC-TV affiliate.
That’s when the apparently highly skilled robbers made off with a massive haul that included diamond, sapphire and gold necklaces, as well as a horde of luxury watches.
“They did leave San Mateo on Sunday night [July 11], destined for Los Angeles and the Pasadena Convention Center. And sometime [the next] morning, they were robbed,” said Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, to the outlet.
“There was a large number of Rolex, Cartier and Franck Muller watches. These are luxury watches that sell $10,000 and up,” Duke said.
Between 30 and 40 percent of the sparkling merchandise in the truck was swiped, Duke said.
But a former FBI agent, Rick Smith, told ABC it’s unlikely any Brink’s worker was involved in the sensational robbery, which could have been a scene taken from the famed “Ocean’s” heist flick franchise.
“I doubt that a Brinks employee is involved in something like this because it’s so obvious,” he said.
Duke added, “FBI and police investigators, detectives were at our show in Pasadena this weekend interviewing everybody, including my employees, because anybody that was there could potentially be some kind of suspect.”
Smith noted that the swiped goods may already have been fenced.
“There’s a plan to get rid of the merchandise right away,” he said. “So as soon as they stole it, they got rid of it so that they couldn’t be identified as possessing it.”