Updated 4 pm, Wednesday
Edgartown Police are investigating a claim by Kelly Bensimon, model and former reality TV star, that a bag containing $50,000 worth of her jewelry was stolen from a parked vehicle while she was on a sailing charter off Edgartown on business last Wednesday.
Ms. Bensimon, who appeared for two seasons in the Bravo series “Real Housewives of New York,” told The Times in a phone call that she was on-Island for a two-day business trip, meeting with an investor about fintech startup opportunities.
The jewelry was stored in a toiletry bag placed inside a Black Dog tote and locked in the storage area of a black Cadillac Escalade when she left to go sailing, she said.
Ms. Bensimon said she was planning to catch a flight to New York City that evening at 6 pm, which is why she had her belongings, including her jewelry, in the car. When she returned from the charter sailing trip at 4 pm, the bag containing her jewelry was gone. Ms. Bensimon said that her bag contained Hermès bracelets, a Cartier tricolor gold bangle, a Daytona watch, and a 10-carat turquoise diamond ring.
“The irony is that there was a computer in the middle seat, and there was a Louis Vuitton bag in the front seat,” Ms. Bensimon said.
On Thursday, Ms. Bensimon, a frequent Vineyard visitor, posted a photo of herself in a bikini on the sailboat and a message to her Instagram account:
“VERY IMPORTANT: my canvas black dog bag was stolen yesterday at the marina in edgartown. The car was a new black cadillac escalade, it happened around 4 PM. If you have any information on the tote and the black nylon prada bag inside of it DM me immediately. BIG REWARD. Xx, Kkb.”
Edgartown Police Officer Curtis Chandler told The Times Ms. Bensimon did not report the theft until Friday. Initially, he said, many of the details were unclear, including the exact location where the vehicle, a 2010 Escalade, was parked for four hours while the party went sailing on the charter boat Magic Carpet. Police later determined the Escalade was parked in the town lot on the harbor, near the finger piers and Edgartown Yacht Club.
Ms. Bensimon initially said the vehicle was locked; however, there was no evidence the car was broken into. Officer Chandler said he spoke to a member of the group who said the car may have been locked, but the passenger-side window also may have been down. He said no one has reported any damage or forced entry into the vehicle.
There were no reports of thefts from other vehicles that day.
Ms. Bensimon insists that her representatives spoke to a police officer Wednesday night and contacted the harbormaster. On Thursday, Ms. Bensimon said, a representative from her office called the Edgartown police station and was told by the officer who answered the phone to give it another day, that the bag might turn up.
In each case, Officer Chandler said, based on how the information was presented to them, the police officers thought they were speaking with someone reporting a lost or misplaced bag, not a theft of valuables.
It was not until late Friday that police were told the contents of the bag, $50,000 in jewelry, or that it was reported as a theft.
In an email to The Times Tuesday, Ms. Bensimon confirmed that her representatives, sensitive to the nature of the contents, only described a missing bag and not a bag of jewelry stolen from a parked car.
Ms. Bensimon said she is “beyond frustrated.”
“How was the car entered if it was locked,” she said in an email to The Times. “And why take a $20 bag and not a Louis Vuitton bag or a computer. I’m raising the same questions.”
Ms. Bensimon said that the jewelry has sentimental value to her because she wants her daughters to wear it when they’re older. “On top of it,” she said, “my insurance doesn’t cover jewelry!”
She is offering a reward for the recovery of the missing jewelry, and said that she has no interest in pressing charges.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Edgartown Police at 508-627-4343.