News Article

Emotional Baggage

Lil' Kim says $250,000 in jewels were swiped. The missing bling-bling is the apparent result of an airport baggage mixup

Maybe Lil' Kim should change her lyric ''I can't take these diamonds with me when I die'' to ''I can't take these diamonds with me when I fly.'' The rapper, known for her large jewelry and tiny outfits, claimed that $250,000 worth of custom jewels were stolen from her Louis Vuitton luggage on Friday at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, the New York Daily News reports. Missing were two necklaces, one with platinum dog tags filled with yellow diamonds and one with a white- and yellow-diamond-encrusted gold chain with her signature crowned ''B,'' representing her Queen Bee record label.

The jewels went missing after a mixup at a United Airlines check-in counter ended with her carry-on bag being checked with other pieces belonging to Kim and her entourage. She realized the error while awaiting takeoff in first-class, and the flight was delayed while the bag was retrieved. Already, the necklaces were gone, though another $250,000 worth of earrings, rings, and other jewelry were still there. The bag looked ''tampered with,'' the rapper's lawyer, Mel Sachs, told the Daily News, saying that an outside flap and a jewelry holder inside had been opened.

Kim ended up taking a later flight (she was en route to L.A. for Tuesday's BET Awards), while the bag was tested for fingerprints and JFK employees were scheduled for polygraph tests, Sachs said. He suggested that Kim's penchant for gems may have made her a target to airport workers who knew she was a scheduled passenger. ''Lil' Kim is known for her exceptional and distinctive custom-made jewelry and had two irreplaceable pieces of her collection stolen,'' he said. ''Celebrities like Lil' Kim are vulnerable to being targeted and being victims of this kind of theft.'' A spokesman for the Port Authority, which manages the airport, told the Daily News, ''the incident is under investigation by the Port Authority police.''

Originally posted Jun 23, 2003