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Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society museum closes after break in

Thieves broke into the Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society (FGMS) museum at approximately 4 a.m. Sept. 10 and departed with some "priceless" stones. The museum is closed until further notice, according to FGMS president Gail Kerry.

"It was a 'smash and grab' and it's a warning for all businesses that it can happen," said Kerry, who added that the bandits knew what they were looking for.

"They made off with five large specimen tourmaline pieces," said Kerry. "They went after the five biggest tourmaline pieces."

When asked about the value of the pieces, Kerry replied, "I would say they are priceless. They're irreplaceable."

Kerry added that the pieces are also "identifiable" and FGMS is using social media to inform people of the stolen stones. A flyer featuring photos of the five pieces was also being produced for distribution at a major gem and jewelry show in Denver.

"There's a Denver show and we're getting it (the flyer) to dealers up there as fast as we can," said Kerry.

Would someone try to fence the stones at the Denver show?

"Possibly, but unlikely," said Kerry. "Its either gone to a private collection or its going overseas real fast."

The bandits broke through a chain-locked wrought iron gate, double glass doors and then smashed four glass cases to get to the loot.

"We never thought they'd be able to get through the front, with the metal gate and the chain and the lock and the alarm," said Kerry. "That was naive on our part."

Kerry said FGMS has been working on increasing security after someone tried – unsuccessfully – to break into the building in August.

"We're pretty sick about it because we've been talking security for a month and we thought we were moving in the right direction and they still got us bad," said Kerry. "We beefed things up. We took action. We were in the process of getting with the security company to figure out what else we should do, but it hadn't been done yet."

Kerry said FGMS will continue to work on making security improvements.

"We will be doing a whole bunch of stuff," Kerry said.


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