A driver was asleep in an armored truck when burglars stole 22 bags of jewelry and other items worth millions of dollars from the vehicle, according to lawsuit

A driver was asleep in an armored truck when burglars stole 22 bags of jewelry and other items worth millions of dollars from the vehicle, according to lawsuit
A Brink's armored truck parked in front of Lunardi's Markets, at Palos Verdes Mall in Walnut Creek, California, on March 15, 2021. The security company is disputing the total value of losses in a recent jewelry heist on July 11.Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
  • A Brink's armored truck carrying 73 bags of jewelry and other items was burglarized on July 11.
  • The vehicle carrying the items stopped at a truck stop in Lebec, California, according to a lawsuit.

In the early hours of July 11, one of two armed guards of a Brink's armored tractor-trailer shipping millions of dollars worth of jewelry was asleep in the truck while his co-worker stopped the vehicle to grab food at a truck stop somewhere in south Central Valley, California.

Less than 30 minutes later, burglars carried out a multimillion-dollar heist, making off with 22 bags of jewelry and other items, according to a lawsuit from the security company obtained by Insider.

The suit, which Brink's filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on August 8, centers on 13 jewelry retailers who contracted the security company to ship their merchandise on July 10 from a jewelry show in northern California to Los Angeles.

It disputes the total value of the merchandise, which the retailers claimed in their own lawsuit against the security company is worth over $100 million. Brink's argues that the real losses are worth somewhere around $8.7 million, and that the jewelers "substantially under-declared the value of their shipments."

But the suit also provides some insight into how burglars pulled off the multimillion-dollar theft from the private security company that touts "state-of-the-art technology and security features."


The two armed guards were headed south on Interstate 5 from San Mateo County around midnight on July 11, the lawsuit said.

Around that time, "Driver 2" went to sleep in the sleeping berth of the truck "in compliance with Department of Transportation regulations," the company claims. The DOT does have rules around driving limits and sleeping berths in trucks.

Around 2:05 a.m., "Driver 1" stopped at Flying J Truck Stop in Lebec, California, and left his co-worker asleep in the vehicle, which is also part of the DOT's regulations, the lawsuit said.

When the driver returned to the truck less than half an hour later, he noticed something was off.

"Driver 1 returned to the truck about 27 minutes later — at 2:32 am — and saw that the red plastic seal around the trailer was cut and lying on the ground," according to the lawsuit. "He then inspected the trailer's rear lock and found that it had been cut away."


The lawsuit said the driver who was asleep "did not see or hear anything unusual."

The two employees called law enforcement to report the burglary, and there were no security cameras or surveillance in the immediate area, the company claimed in the lawsuit.

While the total value of the merchandise is disputed, Brink's claimed that authorities accounted for 51 bags out of the 73 that were logged for the shipment.

The "estimated declared value" of the 22 missing bags was $8.7 million, the company said.

A lawsuit filed on Monday by 14 jewelry retailers, which includes one that is not mentioned in Brink's lawsuit, accused the security company of negligence and a breach of contract.