Tucson Police investigate major theft from Gem Show vendor
Thieves break the padlocks of a trailer parked at Motel 6 and steal thousands of gemstones. Claire Doan reports.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Claire Doan
Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Tucson Police said it's first major theft from the Gem Show this year: Thieves stole thousands of rare gemstones worth $900,000 dollars from a vendor.
The merchandise was stolen from a box trailer at a Motel 6 parking lot on E. Benson Highway sometime between Sunday night and Tuesday morning.
"We put a lock on the trailer itself so that it just couldn't be hooked up and taken away. We're in and out and we just thought it looked like it was pretty safe," said Tammy Moreau, the vendor whose merchandise was stolen.
She said the thieves took more than 2,000 faceted stones, 100 pendants, 100 earrings and rings, adding that the gems took three years to mine.
Sgt. Matt Ronstadt, a Tucson Police spokesperson, said thieves used bolt cutters to snap through padlocks on the unmarked trailer -- and said there is no indication that this is a targeted theft.
Moreau said her heart sank when she discovered the empty trailer when preparing to leave Tucson.
"This is devastating. I don't know what we're going to do because I have shows lined up and I have no merchandise to sell," Moreau said. "This is our sole income. This is how we make a living."
Ronstadt said the stones -- known as Oregon Sunstones -- are one-of-a-kind and only several miners and distributors in the world have access to them.
"We're hoping because the stones are so exclusive ... that getting those pictures out to the media and up on the website will help identify those [thieves]," Ronstadt said.
Detectives are looking for surveillance footage in the area, hoping that motel cameras or even freeway cameras caught the thieves in action.
Police advise dealers to store their merchandise in a secured lot or storage facility with staff on site, to prevent a theft like this from occurring.