Crime, News

Suspects Sought in Safe Heist on Highland Ave.

By Edwin Folven, 4/05/2012

Burglary Nets Jewelry Valued at More Than $10 Million


In a case reminiscent of a Hollywood crime thriller, unknown suspects burglarized a residence near Highland Avenue and 3rd Street in March and allegedly stole a safe with jewelry valued at more than $10 million.

Investigators have released photos of some of the jewelry allegedly stolen during the burglary on Highland Avenue. (photo courtesy of the LAPD)

The case is being investigated by detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Burglary Special Section Safe Detail, and authorities have been canvassing pawn shops and jewelry stores trying to locate the stolen items. Detectives are also searching for anyone who may have been driving in the 200 block of South Highland Avenue around 8:20 p.m. on March 16 and may have seen the suspect or suspects fleeing.

“You have these [crimes] all over the city, and there are thousands of safes reported stolen each year, but in this one you have an extraordinary amount of high value jewelry inside,” said Det. J. Williamson, of the Burglary Special Section Safe Detail. “They found what they were looking for and didn’t go after anything else. They were probably only inside for five to seven minutes. It looks like they were specifically after the safe.”

Williamson said the safe weighed 200 to 400 pounds, and it probably took at least two people to move it. The burglars jumped over a security gate and smashed a side glass door with an unknown object, setting off the security alarm. The safe was located in an upstairs bedroom, and the suspects used a rug to pull it across the floor, down the stairs and out the door. Williamson said although no vehicle was seen, there may have been a lookout driver in a vehicle parked nearby.

“It was unusual that nobody saw anything,” Williamson said. “It was a run of the mill safe, probably two-feet- by two-feet, but it was pretty heavy.”

The detective said the alarm company notified officers from the LAPD’s Wilshire Division when the burglar alarm went off, but the suspects were gone when police arrived. Williamson said the safe contained diamond rings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry, including Cartier and Rolex watches. Media reports stated that there was a 40-carat diamond necklace and a 20-carat diamond ring in the safe.

“It was mostly unique pieces of jewelry. Some of the rings were valued at over $1 million each,” Williamson said. “It was quite a list.”

Williamson added that the owner has not provided receipts for the pieces, and said they do not have documentation about the actual value. He said, however, that they have to take the claims at face value. He declined to identify the owner, but said it was a wealthy Los Angeles–area business owner.

“A lot of times they will take the jewelry off and melt down the settings, and then sell it that way,” Williamson added. “They also would have had to open the safe in a house or some type of storage area or garage, and that would make some noise. We are hoping something will surface.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detectives Black or Williamson at (213)486-6945. Photos of the stolen jewelry are available at



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