Up to $10 million in diamonds were 'stolen' from a New York jeweler who admitted he had failed to lock the safe where the gems were stored. Jonathan Birnbach told police that he discovered $5 million to $10 million worth of diamonds missing from the vault in his business in the heart of the Diamond District. Birnbach told detectives that he put the diamonds in three wooden boxes in the safe and didn’t notice they were missing for more than two weeks, because he didn’t often deal with them.
As it turns out, workers at J. Birnbach Inc. were helping their boss move to another floor and tossed three wooden boxes filled with diamonds in a heap of trash without bothering to look inside, law-enforcement sources said. A building security guard patrolling the third floor allegedly did check the trash and discovered a cluster of expensive stones, including one worth $3.2 million. Wilfred Martinez, 47, sold some of the booty to a jeweler in the same building where he found them, but not the 17-carat diamond that was the $3.2 million crown jewel of the collection, the sources said. He has now turned over that piece to cops, along with two smaller diamonds and $10,000 in cash. Authorities are trying to track down the rest of the stones, law-enforcement sources said. He has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Judge Melissa Crane set his bail at $100,000 at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday.