By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
New York--The New York Police Department is looking into the theft of as much as $10 million in diamonds from the safe of a company headquartered in the city’s Diamond District.

News about the missing stones first surfaced late last week. Reuters and a number of other news outlets reported the name of the diamond dealer as Jonathan Birnbaum of J. Birnbaum Inc., but National Jeweler confirmed via a number of sources on Monday that it is Jonathan Birnbach, owner of J. Birnbach Inc., who reported that diamonds had been stolen from his New York City office.

While the NYPD would confirm little beyond the fact that an investigation is ongoing into a formal complaint of grand larceny, the New York Daily News reported that Birnbach first made police aware of the theft last Wednesday.

According to the News, he told police he had placed three wooden boxes of diamonds in the safe on Nov. 24, but hadn’t noticed they were missing until this month because he wasn’t working with those particular gems.

Birnbach also reportedly said the safe was left unlocked during business hours so he and his employees could get in and out of it easily throughout the work day, which isn’t unusual for a company in the Diamond District. However, one diamond dealer told National Jeweler that if there were people in the office who are not employees or regular visitors (e.g., construction workers), then protocol would dictate that the safe be locked.

Sources told the News that police are interviewing contractors who reportedly were doing construction work in the building during the time the gemstones disappeared, and also are reviewing footage from J. Birnbach’s video surveillance system.

A woman who answered the phone Monday at J. Birnbach’s office said the company had no comment on the case.

Jonathan Birnbach, who spent years working for his father Max’s company, Fullcut Manufacturers, opened J. Birnbach in 1996. A year later, he was joined by Udi Moritz. The company specializes in cutting high-quality diamonds and has a collection of one-off pieces of platinum and diamond jewelry.





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