Monday, October 29, 2012

Jewel Heist and Unheist

The Star of India was given to the American Museum of Natural History by J.P. Morgan in 1900. The gem safely resided there until October 29, 1964. Soon after that night it found a new place of residence in a public locker in a bus station in Miami, Florida.  

The bad men who effected this transfer of locale had unlocked a bathroom window in the museum during public hours, thereby assuring themselves an avenue of ingress and escape. That night they completed the job, making off with this star sapphire the weight of which was over 563 carats. They also took the Midnight Star, the DeLong Star Ruby and the Eagle diamond.*

Subsequently, Jack Murphy, Roger Clark, and Allan Kuhn were indicted for the theft.

Fast forward to Miami in early January, 1965. A group of New York City detectives brought Kuhn to Miami in an effort to locate the swag. According to reporter Milt Sosin in the Miami News of January 8, “All day Wednesday and early Thursday, the assistant D.A. and the detectives, with Kuhn in tow, raced around Miami, Miami Beach, and North Dade in their quest.”

Apparently the group checked into a motel and eventually received an anonymous call specifying the location of the jewels. The informant told them where the key was hidden. Early on the morning of January 8, the group rushed to the sites specified and did, indeed, find the booty, with the exception of the DeLong Star Ruby, which was later recovered, and the Eagle Diamond which has never been found.

The crooks got three years.

*According to Wikipedia, the only one of these gems that had an alarm device was the Star of India.  The battery was dead.

1.  Wikipedia


Shelly said...

Only three years? Wow...

Vee said...

Where would one unload such one-of-a-kind gems? (And it is way to big for an owner to go unnoticed while wearing it as a piece jewelry.)

vanilla said...

Shelly, perhaps that was the length of time required to "reform" them.

Vee, from things I've read, I guess there are rich collectors who don't worry about legal niceties. Surely not.

Pearl said...

Three years seems a bit short, doesn't it?


Sharkbytes said...

Sounds like a scenario for a story- what happened to the Eagle diamond!

vanilla said...

Shark, there you go. A direction for your next mystery!

vanilla said...

Pearl, people have served less time for crimes more heinous, imo.