850-Lb. Emerald Stolen from SoCal Recovered in Vegas

Sunday, Jul 12, 2009  |  Updated 8:32 AM PDT
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A gem stolen from the Southland turns up in Vegas.

A gem stolen from the Southland turns up in Vegas.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Friday the recovery of a stolen 850-pound emerald -- reportedly worth $370 million -- but released few details about the case.
 
The so-called "Bahia Emerald" was recovered last Friday in Las Vegas, according to a sheriff's department news release.

The gem was stolen from a secured vault in South El Monte in September and later warehoused in the Nevada gambling town, said Lt. Thomas Grubb of the sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau.

The unidentified individuals who were in possession of the emerald in Las Vegas initially agreed to release it once the lawful owner was identified,  but deputies returned to the prearranged location armed with a court order, according to Grubb.
 
Grubb said he was precluded from releasing information regarding the owner of the stone because of pending litigation. He added it was difficult to  determine details about the rightful owner because so many people were involved with the stone.
 
"A judge is going to have to rule on who the rightful owner is," Grubb said. "There is some civil litigation involved, but there will also be criminal proceedings."
 
No arrests were made, but the investigation continues, he said.

The stone, which reportedly contains the largest spires of emeralds in the world, is being stored by the sheriff's department pending release to the lawful owner. The emerald is believed to be the second largest stone of its kind in the world, according to the sheriff's department.

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