Jewelry heists usually come in the form of someone robbing a jewelry store, and they are usually caught pretty quickly due to all the security cameras these days. But, when a jewelry heist nets 85 million euros ($95,058,560 in US dollars) the thieves have to do a little more planning…if they plan to remain anonymous and get away with their heist, that is. In reality, there were two heists that took place at Harry Winston’s Avenue Montaigne shop, and the grand total was $113 million in jewelry and other valuables. The heists took place in October of 2007 and December of 2008.

These robbers were very sophisticated in how they carried out these heists. The heists were carried out in broad daylight. In the 2008 robbery, the men boldly walked in through the front door of Harry Winston’s Paris shop.  Despite the fact that three of them were dressed as women in wigs and heels, they were all men. They walked in, pulled a hand grenade and a gun, and in less than 20 minutes, the security guard held the door for them as they walked out to a waiting car with their rolling suitcase filled with over $90 million of jewels and watches.

Eight men were convicted for their roles in those two bold jewelry heists in 2007 and 2008, in which they made off with an estimated $113 million in jewelry and other valuables, most of which has never been found. It was said that the police never had a chance. That was in December of 2008 and to the frustration of Harry Winston, their insurer Lloyds of London, and the police, it was the second massive jewelry heist at the store in just over a year. The earlier job took place in October in 2007 and involved four men masquerading as builders. They were let in through a back door with the help of an inside man and made off with close to $30 million in diamonds, luxury watches, necklaces, earrings and other valuables

Finally, in March 2011, there was a small breakthrough when the police recovered some of the jewelry after a 2009 crime sweep in Paris. Police recovered $20 million worth of jewelry (19 rings and three sets of earrings) from the 2008 heist. Found in a drain in the Parisian suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, it was all that was ever located.

After a trial that started in early February, eight men were convicted for their roles in the crimes. Their sentences ranged from nine months to 15 years. The longest sentence was for the crime’s purported mastermind, Douadi Yahiaoui, a repeat criminal offender and drug trafficker. His 59 year old brother Mohammed was also convicted. In all, the Paris police arrested 25 men in the Harry Winston jewel heist probe. The suspects ranged from 22 years old to 67 years old.

Aunt Ruth  for bookmarksWhen you are a lot like another person, you carry memories of that person around with you. The strange thing about it is that you probably don’t even notice those similarities during that person’s lifetime. Often it is after their death, that suddenly things like their laugh coming out of you, has a tendency to startle you. Something, like being built like that person is always something you knew, and yet, things like looking like that person, may not be something you could see, until you looked at a picture of yourself, and you can totally see that person. I suppose that different hair styles and the use of make up can make a difference in each one’s looks, but eventually, something just stands out, and you know that you are that person’s mini me…even if that person is not your parent, but rather and aunt, as in my case. I never thought of myself as being anyone’s mini me, but in the case of my aunt and me, that is clearly the case.

My Aunt Ruth is the aunt that I really look like, and laugh like, and yet it was after her passing that it suddenly dawned on me that I really do laugh like her. Aunt Ruth had a great sense of humor, and she loved to laugh. She was a woman who had been a lot of places, and that made her seem to me to be very sophisticated, but Aunt Ruth would never have considered herself to be some fancy woman of the world. She had just lived in several places, and that gave her some knowledge of how things 0919001651worked in some of the glamorous places that I had not been in or at least not very long, but she knew them well.

One of the memories I will always have of Aunt Ruth, is the moccasins she always wore. I don’t know if she loved the Native American culture or if the moccasins were just comfortable, but she loved them. She always wore the ones with the tiny bead work on them, and for some reason, my little girl mind always thought those were special. I’m sure that it was because my Aunt Ruth wore them. When you look up to someone, you really think that everything they do is the coolest thing in the world. Aunt Ruth left us in 1992, and we all miss her very much, but for me, there is the fact that in many way, I am so much like her, and it is like carrying her memory with me. Today would have been Aunt Ruth’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Ruth. We love and miss you very much, and can’t wait to see you again.

Aunt EvelynBeing the oldest child and a girl, often places her in a position of seeming to be very sophisticated. They always get to do the cool things first, and they are the first one to have friends who aren’t related. It can serve to make the younger children a little jealous, even if they do love their sister dearly. And in my mom’s family…with nine children…there were a lot of them to be jealous. The younger ones always think that the oldest gets all the good stuff.

Such was the case with my Aunt Evelyn and her younger siblings. Aunt Evelyn had a circle of friends who always did a lot of fun things together. Their parents took turns hosting parties and the girls got to do a number of cool things. When the time came for Aunt Evelyn’s turn, Grandma and Grandpa Byer rented the North Casper Club House and threw a Taffy Pull Party. Now I can totally understand how the younger kids would feel jealous about that, because they could see and smell the candy cooking and they would get none of it. What kid wouldn’t have a problem with that? All the kids I know sure would. First of all, candy is a little kids world a lot of the time, and then to add insult to injury, Aunt Evelyn's Graduation picture_editedthey weren’t going to be included in the festivities. The party was a big success, and was talked about for a long time, but by the time the other kids got to be that age, the parties were also not the big thing anymore. Or maybe it was just that Aunt Evelyn’s circle of friends, all of whom were quite social, liked doing special things. Whatever it was, the rest of the children were quite jealous…when they were little.

The years have gone by now, and that childish jealousy is a thing of the past. I don’t really think they were ever really jealous of Aunt Evelyn…at least not after a momentary passing thing, because they have always been really close. While childish jealousy fades, sophistication and beauty of spirit continue on forever. Like their sister, the rest of my aunts and uncles became wonderful people, each with their own kind of talent, and special beauty, both in person and spirit. Each wanted the best for their siblings, and loved them dearly. As children, we think that one or the other sibling might be getting something more or better, but later we realize that our parents loved us all the same. I think that had the other children been a part of such a circle of friends, as my Aunt Evelyn was, George & Evelyn Hushman, Collene & Allen SpencerGrandma and Grandpa would have made a way to do the same kind of special party for them too. That was just how they were.

Today is Aunt Evelyn’s 86th birthday. While the years have so quickly passed, I am here to tell you that the sophistication, charm, and beauty has not. Aunt Evelyn is still a very social person, capable of putting together quite a wingding. Her sweet personality and loving kindness are always looking to make sure that others have what they need. She is a loving wife, who takes great care of her husband, my Uncle George, and makes the lives of all those around her beautiful with her ways. Happy birthday Aunt Evelyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

PamPam is the oldest of my Aunt Doris and Uncle Bill’s three children, and their only girl. Each of their children were special in their own right. I always thought of Pam as an elegant looking girl. She and my sister, Cheryl had a way about them that I had always wished I had. I don’t know if it was about being older and more sophisticated, or what, but I knew that it was what I wanted to be like, but never felt like I was…at least not until I was much older, and it didn’t matter anymore.

Of course, Pam was much more than that to her little brothers. As the big sister, she knew all the fun stuff to do when they were little boys. I’m sure CCI10072013_0060 (2)that as they grew, she wished they would leave her alone…as all big sisters do, but when they were little, she was the one they loved to hang around. She has always had a great smile, and she could always make them laugh when she played with them. They were very blessed to have her.

When Pam and her husband, Mike came out for a visit last summer, we all had a chance to get reacquainted. It was such a lovely visit. We had not seen Pam for a long time, because we all let life get in the way. How sad is that? But with Facebook, hopefully we can stay better in touch with each other now.

Pam is an elementary school teacher, teaching 3rd grade right Mike & Pamnow, but plans to retire soon. We hope that might mean that she and Mike can come back out and visit for a little longer this time. The little visit we had really just brought with it an appetite for more time with this wonderful cousin. We talked and laughted about the old days, and caught up with the things going on in our lives these days. I could have talked with them for hours, and really hated to see them leave. And, I look forward to the next time we can get together. Today is Pam’s birthday. Happy birthday Pam!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!


Cheryl and CarynTo every little girl who has a big sister, she is most likely the first person she looked up to. Big sisters are wise, because they have done so much in this world. They can show you all the cool things that they have had the opportunity to see in their lives. They show you the ropes, and they are there for you through thick and thin…even if you fight occasionally in those early years. When it comes down to it they would fight any foe, bully, or even and friend…if they came between them and their little sister. That was and is the kind of friend I have in my big sister, Cheryl. She always seemed so much more sophisticated than I was. And still does to this day. I don’t know how she does it, but she just has that something about her. With all she has done with her life, I find myself feeling very proud that she is my sister.

I suppose there are many younger sisters who feel the same way about their big sisters. I mean, big sisters always seem to have the answers, all the cool friends…not that you get to hang out with them, all of the cool clothes…while you wear hand me downs, and they get to do so much more than you get to do. Still, sometimes, they give you a little bit of their time, and you get to bask in the warmth of being with that person who is so much cooler than you are. You get to go do things together…like exploring in the back yard, or playing with the cool toys they have. Your life is perfect, simply because that cool big sister gave you a few minutes of their time.

It is at this point in time that you really get a full understanding of how much your big sister loves you. It doesn’t matter that most of the time they really want you to just stay Love my sisterSistersout of the way. It doesn’t matter that most of the time they want you to leave their toys alone. Those thoughts fade into a distant memory. You get to hang out with the wisest, coolest person you know. They get to teach you from all the wisdom of their years…even if there are only 2 years between you, and you are only 6 months old at the time. I guess that wisdom isn’t nearly as important as the love your big sister has for little old you.

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