How to move $1 billion in jewels

Also: 7 other things worth a click.

I once had to fill out a background form that required me to list every place I'd ever lived since high school.

This was insane.

It took forever, because I moved a lot when I was younger—from city to city for work or school, and then from one apartment, or group house, or living situation to another.

If there's an upside for today's article, it's that I'm kind of an accidental expert on moving.

It’s why I did a double-take when I realized that Tiffany's moved its entire inventory of jewels from its massive retail flagship HQ at 727 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where it's been since 1940, to a nearby temporary store—all in a single night.

From Untapped New York:

Under modern day cloak and dagger, ten floors of merchandise and priceless jewelry were moved around the corner to its new temporary location in the former Niketown store on 57th Street.

Almost everything has made it over to the new location, dubbed The Tiffany Flagship Next Door. That’s over 114,000 pieces of Tiffany goods, including a $2.475 million dollar engagement ring.

It might have been a tempting target for criminals, had they known the timing (Sunday evening), and been about as brazen as any criminals in history.

Yes, there's a history. For example:

  • 1958 Thieves used sledgehammers to smash through supposedly shatterproof glass, and made away with a couple of diamond necklaces, a diamond pin and a diamond ring. They were never caught.

  • 1994 Six men robbed Tiffany's late on a September evening, making off with about $2 million in jewels. (They were all eventually caught and all but one went to prison.)

  • 2019 Obviously there have been smaller robberies, including this one—a smash and grab in London that was part of a wave of motor scooter-related crimes there recently.

Tiffany's hasn't said the full value of the jewelry they were transporting. So, let's assume a $10,000 per piece price tag on average, which seems reasonable. Multiply that by 114,000, and we're talking well over $1 billion.

So, how do you physically move $1 billion in gems?

  • 30 security officers plus members of the NYPD

  • 300 cameras monitoring the whole thing

  • Employees banned from talking about the thing or posting any indication online

  • An online security company hired to track mentions of things like, “move,” “727 Fifth Avenue,” and “6 East 57th Street" (location of the new temporary store).

  • A tent in front of the door of the new, temporary location, so nobody could see.

It worked! Which is great for Tiffany’s, although it makes this the world’s flattest crime story.

Still, it's a good tale to tell nonetheless. And the moral is: Never move.

Wait, what am I thinking? That's terrible advice. Sometimes you have to. Sometimes the grass really is greener. Sometimes, you do have to remodel.

But it's still a good story.

7 other things worth a click

  1. The Boy Scouts of America will reportedly plan to file for bankruptcy, in a move that would let them protect local councils while still paying off sexual abuse claims. (The Wall Street Journal)

  2. Jeff Bezos offered to donate $690,000 for relief from Australian wildlife fires, but he’s being criticized because reports say that works out to what he makes every five minutes. (Marketwatch)

  3. Elon Musk is showing off how Teslas will be able to talk to pedestrians. (CNET)

  4. Anthony Bourdain’s mother, who helped him get his first article published, has died at age 85. ( New York Times)

  5. Bruce Springsteen’s son, Sam, 25, was sworn in as a firefighter in Jersey City, N.J. (New York Post)

  6. An Iowa man asked a court to let him have a legal “trial by combat” with Japanese swords against his ex-wife, to settle divorce terms. Of his wife’s attorney, he told a reporter: “I think I've met [his] absurdity with my own absurdity.” (Des Moines Register)

  7. Jeopardy! crowned its greatest player of all time last night. (USA Today)

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