10G reward offered in case of stolen Liberty Bell ruby

The Liberty Bell ruby
The Liberty Bell ruby
Posted: June 21, 2012

ATTENTION, pawnshoppers and bling buffs! If you come across an 8,500-carat ruby shaped like the Liberty Bell, find a phone and call the cops — and you'll be rewarded with riches you can put in the bank.

Thieves stole the 4-pound, $2 million sparkler in November from the Stuart Kingston Galleries in Wilmington, according to the FBI. Galleries owner Jim Stein is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the capture and conviction of the robbers.

Four robbers, armed with handguns and hammers, burst into the jewelry shop about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1, tied up employees, smashed display cases and escaped with the ruby and "a large volume of high-end jewelry and diamonds," the FBI said. They fled in a U-Haul. Investigators believe that the robbers have ties to the Philadelphia area. Stein's employees told the Wilmington News-Journal that a witness jumped into his Mercedes sedan and followed the robbers' van up I-95 at about 100 mph, narrating the pursuit to a 9-1-1 operator, but stopped north of Chester when the robbers opened the rear door and leveled a gun at his car.

Tipsters can call the FBI in Delaware at 302-658-4391 or any FBI office.

According to the News-Journal, the ruby was mined near Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa more than 50 years ago and later got chiseled into a Liberty Bell guarded by a bald eagle and framed by 50 diamonds, one for each state. Its California owners had given the ruby to Stein to sell to a philanthropist who might donate it to a Philly museum, according to the paper. After the heist, Stein told the paper he feared that the paper's 2010 article drew the bandits' attention and prompted the theft.

Contact Dana DiFilippo at 215-854-5934, difilid@phillynews.com or on Twitter @DanaDiFilippo. Read her blog at phillyconfidential.com.

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