A Brink's armored truck was loaded with millions of dollars of jewelry on July 10, following an exhibition hosted by the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, south of the Bay Area, the group's director Brandy Swanson told local CBS-TV affiliate KPIX.
Swanson said the Brink's truck was headed to another event on July 11 at the Pasadena Convention Center, northeast of downtown Los Angeles, when 25 and 30 bags of jewelry were stolen from the truck. She said, "18 victims reported more than $100 million in losses."
Laura Eimiller, the spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, said Brink's armored truck was robbed in the desert city of Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County while en route to its destination at the convention center.
Dana Callahan, a spokeswoman for Brink's, disputed the $100 million value of stolen property and said it's more like $10 million.
Swanson said the discrepancy between the dollar amount stolen is because some traveling vendors underinsure to save money:
"That's where the discrepancy comes in. These are mom-and-pop operators," she said. "They're devastated. Some of these people have lost their entire livelihoods."
Vendors claim the figure is more like $150 million. One jeweler said their "19 karat yellow gold with over 100 carats of multicolored sapphire" piece was among the stolen jewels.
Some vendors don't have a showroom and depend on trade shows to make a living.
"My life. That's how I live. That's how I feed my kids," the vendor continued.