Crime & Justice

Emerald battle heads to Los Angeles court

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An emerald that weighs nearly as much as a horse is the subject of a court case today in Los Angeles. The judge will try to determine who owns the big rock.

Tony Thomas claims he bought the Bahia Emerald – all 840 pounds of it – soon after its excavation nearly 10 years ago in Brazil. After he arranged to have it shipped home, Thomas says he was tricked into believing the gem had been stolen.

It’s been in the hands of several people since then. It even turned up in a flooded warehouse in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Thomas wants the judge to award the emerald to him because he was the first one to buy it, but lawyers for other claimants point out that Thomas never actually took possession of it, so he can’t be the owner.

Thomas paid $60,000 in 2001; the Bahia Emerald has been appraised at nearly $400 million dollars. Right now it’s being held under lock and key by L.A. County sheriffs.