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Billion-Dollar Jewelry Heist from Green Vault in Germany

Billion-Dollar Jewelry Heist from Green Vault in Germany

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Thieves have stolen a vast number of priceless jewels in Germany that were part of one of the most important art collections in Europe. Some have estimated that the stolen items may be valued at up to one billion dollars.

The robbery took place at the world-renowned Royal Palace in the eastern German city of Dresden. They were taken from the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe’s) at the palace, which was built by Augustus the Strong, the Elector of Saxony, one of the most important German rulers in the 18th century. He was later elected king of Poland.

The Green Vault Holds the Royal Palace Treasures

The Green Vault is one of the oldest museums in Europe and contains many treasures, it was first opened in 1723. It has two sections, a modern and historic section and is part of the acclaimed Dresden State Art Collections.

Green Vault floorplan from 1727 with handwritten notes by Augustus the Strong marking his intentions. (Linear77 / )

The historic section of the vault is where “three-quarters of the museum’s treasures are” reports The Guardian and it is tightly guarded. The Green Vault and Royal Palace were rebuilt after they were destroyed by Allied bombing in the final days of WWII.

The daring robbery took place after there was a fire at an electrical distribution point that knocked out the alarm and left the area in darkness. Two thieves entered the museum by cutting through a fence and breaking a rear corner window. They then smashed a specially built cabinet in the Jewel Room of the Green Vault to get at the precious items .

The Well-Planned Green Vault Heist

The burglars made a quick getaway and were gone by the time the police arrived. The raid only took roughly five minutes and it was carried out in a “targeted manner” according to The Guardian . A burned-out car was found nearby and this may have been the getaway vehicle.

There is an autobahn or freeway nearby and the thieves probably used this to leave the Dresden area. It appears that they managed to escape before the police were able to set up roadblocks. However, despite the power outage, the surveillance cameras were still working and managed to record the thieves stealing the artifacts. This may provide important evidence for the investigators.

Priceless Treasures Were Stolen From the Green Vault

The thieves “made off with three collections of jewelry from the Royal House of Saxony, made of gold and precious stones ”, reports the New York Times . Among the items that were stolen were a dagger studded with diamonds, a pearl necklace, brooch, sword, and dozens of other priceless items that were once owned by the Royal House of Saxony.

The diamond rose set from 1719 was stored in the Green Vault. ( Jürgen Karpinski / © SKD)

Three sets of diamonds, some of them brilliant-cut diamonds, that had been cut in a particularly beautiful way, were also stolen. However, a full inventory of what was taken has not been compiled and more priceless artifacts could be missing.

According to NBC News , “Some German media have reported that the value of the jewelry could top hundreds of millions of euros”. While some news outlets claim that they are worth up to a billion dollars (980 million USD / 890 million euro).

However, they are priceless to the people of Saxony and Germany and have immense cultural and historic value. The Guardian quotes the Minister-President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer, as stating that “Not only the gallery has been robbed, but also the Saxonians”.

Historic Green Vault, Jewel Room Showcase with 3 sets: The Diamond Jewelry and the Pearls of the Queens (left), Brilliant Set (center), Diamond Rose Trim (right). (Hans Christian Krass / © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden )

Fears For The Treasure

It is highly likely that the thieves will sell the stolen treasure on the black market . Some experts fear that they will destroy the artifacts in order to sell-off the gemstones on an individual basis. If they were melted down and the stones sold off the thieves could earn themselves up to $112 million (100 million euro).

If this happens then the priceless artifacts will be lost forever. However, selling the gemstones will not be easy for the robbers, because of the cut of the stones, which means that they are easy to identify. Julian Radcliffe of The Art Loss Register stated that “Because these are 18 th century cut, they are not common for current use” reports NBC News .

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Breast Star of the Polish White Eagle Order. ( Jürgen Karpinski / © Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden )

Review of Security at Museums

There is another problem for the authorities - it appears that the stolen treasures were uninsured. The government of Saxony “carried no insurance on the jewels, standard practice because the premiums typically exceed the potential damages in the longer-term” according to Bloomberg. This means that the local authorities will receive no compensation to possibly replace the stolen artifacts .

The police are urging the public to come forward with any information but there is a real possibility that the jewels may not be recovered. The thieves are likely only interested in money and do not care for the historic and cultural value of the stolen treasures.

There is now going to be a review of security at all state museums in Germany. In 2017, a huge gold coin was stolen from a museum in Berlin and the latest theft is regarded as a huge embarrassment.

Dresden Green Vault burglary

On 25 November 2019, royal jewellery was stolen from the Green Vault museum within Dresden Castle in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. The stolen items include the 49-carat Dresden White Diamond, the diamond-laden breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle which belonged to the King of Poland, a hat clasp with a 16-carat diamond, a diamond epaulette, and a diamond-studded hilt containing nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, along with a matching scabbard. [1] The missing items were of great cultural value to the State of Saxony and were described as priceless other sources estimate the total value at about €1 billion. [2] [3]

Thieves Steal Priceless Diamonds In Heist At Dresden's 'Green Vault' Museum

Items stolen from the "Green Vault" museum in Dresden, Germany, include (from left) the breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle, a hat clasp containing a 16-carat diamond and a diamond-studded sword hilt with a matching scabbard. Jürgen Karpinski/Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden hide caption

Items stolen from the "Green Vault" museum in Dresden, Germany, include (from left) the breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle, a hat clasp containing a 16-carat diamond and a diamond-studded sword hilt with a matching scabbard.

Jürgen Karpinski/Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

Police are searching for the bold thieves who made off with priceless diamonds and other historic treasures from the Grünes Gewölbe, or "Green Vault," state museum in Dresden, Germany, early Monday.

The museum has a large collection of jewels, Baroque artifacts and intricately crafted golden tableaux amassed between 1723 and 1730 by August the Strong, the Saxon elector and arts patron who later became king of Poland.

Early reports of the heist sparked incredulity and worries about how much was taken, since the historic Green Vault collection includes thousands of rare and irreplaceable items. The loot's material value seems to have fallen short of the $1 billion initially reported by some German news outlets, but Marion Ackermann, general director of the Dresden State Art Collections, said the pilfered items have priceless cultural value.

Thieves targeted three sets of items in the Jewel Room of the Green Vault museum in a heist carried out early Monday. The burgled room is seen here in a photo provided by the Dresden State Art Collections. David Brandt/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden hide caption

Thieves targeted three sets of items in the Jewel Room of the Green Vault museum in a heist carried out early Monday. The burgled room is seen here in a photo provided by the Dresden State Art Collections.

David Brandt/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Police in Dresden say that the heist took just minutes and that the thieves targeted three vitrines, or display cases, in the museum's Jewel Room. Surveillance video shows two black-clad people rushing into the room and using what looks to be a hatchet or small ax to smash the glass displays, viciously forcing their way into the finely crafted cases. The scene takes place in darkness, with the room's ornate walls and polished checkerboard floor illuminated only by the infiltrators' flashlights.

"We are shocked by the brutality of the burglary," Ackermann said, according to Deutsche Welle.

The criminals got into the Green Vault by breaking a security grill and window in the historic royal palace that houses the museum, police said at a news conference held around 1 p.m. local time.

Saxony's art minister, Eva-Maria Stange, said on Monday that the stolen jewelry pieces are essentially the crown jewels of Saxon kings. "They belong to Saxony," she said.

Police and museum officials released new details about the stolen jewelry Monday evening local time, listing items that include a diamond-laden breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle a hat clasp containing a 16-carat diamond and 14 other large stones, along with 103 smaller diamonds and a diamond-studded sword hilt that contains nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, along with a matching scabbard.

An epaulet bearing 20 large and 216 small diamonds was stolen from the Green Vault museum in Dresden early Monday. The 18th-century piece includes a massive 31.5-carat diamond, along with a smaller stone of about 16.6 carats. Jürgen Karpinski/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden hide caption

An epaulet bearing 20 large and 216 small diamonds was stolen from the Green Vault museum in Dresden early Monday. The 18th-century piece includes a massive 31.5-carat diamond, along with a smaller stone of about 16.6 carats.

Jürgen Karpinski/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The thieves also made off with a diamond epaulet that the museum says is one of the most beautifully designed pieces in its collection. The police say that they've set up a special commission to investigate the crime and that the panel is also named Epaulette.

As NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Berlin, one of the museum's most prized possessions is safe.

"One of the museum's best-known treasures, the 41-carat Dresden Green Diamond, happened to be away on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time of the break-in," Schmitz says. "Other exhibits include a table-sized sculpture of the Indian royal court made of gold, silver and precious stones, as well as a golden coffee service by an 18th-century court jeweler."

Details of the heist are still emerging as police investigate and look for the perpetrators. Saxony's police say that they believe the thieves fled the scene in an Audi A6 sedan — and that an identical vehicle was later found on fire in an underground parking lot.

Laying out a timeline on its Twitter feed, the museum's parent organization, the Dresden State Art Collections, says the first police car was called to the building at 5:04 a.m. local time. Within a minute, a report emerged of an escape vehicle, setting off an intense search in the city. Around the same time, officials realized there had been a power failure in the museum's section of Dresden.

Soon afterward, an electrical control box nearby was found to be disabled — and authorities are still working to determine whether that might have been the result of sabotage. While initial reports suggested the power might have been cut to the museum's security systems, police later said that the outage had affected streetlights in the area of the crime scene.

Police in Saxony, Germany, released surveillance video showing thieves using a small ax to hack their way into a glass display case containing centuries-old jewels and artifacts at the Green Vault museum. Polizei Sachsen/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

Police in Saxony, Germany, released surveillance video showing thieves using a small ax to hack their way into a glass display case containing centuries-old jewels and artifacts at the Green Vault museum.

Polizei Sachsen/Screenshot by NPR

News of the heist was startling given the museum's status as one of Europe's largest collections of jewels and European artistry. And the break-in triggered strong personal feelings in Saxony, where the museum serves as a repository of a cultural identity that goes back centuries.

In response to the intrusion, Saxony Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer said, "Not only the state art collections were robbed, but we Saxons!"

Referring to the wider significance of the valuable treasures held in the museum, Kretschmer said the history of Saxony cannot be understood without the Green Vault.

Saxony Interior Minister Roland Wöller said it's a "bitter day" for the state's heritage, adding that the criminals had stolen "treasures of unimaginable value." As of now, he added, officials are assuming the burglars knew precisely what they wanted to take and how to get it.

The police acknowledged that the theft is an emotional topic for many Saxons, but they also urged people not to speculate about details of the crime or who might be to blame.


Trial For Suspects Accused Of Stealing 220-Pound Solid Gold Coin Begins In Germany

The treasures of the Green Vault have been part of Dresden's and Saxony's resurgence from the ravages of World War II and the Cold War. The pieces survived the Allies' relentless bombing of Dresden, only to be seized by the Soviet Union. They were later returned to East Germany, but the full breadth of the collection's thousands of pieces wasn't put on public display until around 15 years ago, the museum says on its website.

The Green Vault theft comes two years after another German museum was the victim of a shocking, high-profile heist: In March 2017, thieves crept into an upper window of the Bode Museum in Berlin before smashing a bulletproof case and grabbing a 220-pound solid gold coin worth an estimated $4.3 million. Four suspects in that case went on trial in January in a process that is still ongoing.

Thieves stole $1.1 billion of jewels from a German museum, reportedly after starting a fire to cut the power supply then breaking in through a window

Thieves in the Germany city of Dresden carried out what authorities believe may be the biggest art heist in the country since the Second World War, stealing around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) worth of jewels from a

The heist, which local police said appears to have been carefully planned and executed, was carried out early Monday morning. Thieves stole the jewels from the so-called "Green Vault," an area within Dresden's Residenzschloss palace.

Security teams at the museum picked up footage of the perpetrators cutting through a metal grill and breaking a window into the vault, according to German newspaper Die Welt.

Two people were spotted in the surveillance footage, but police are not ruling out the possibility of a larger team being involved, according to Die Welt.

Police said at a press conference in Dresden on Monday afternoon that a small fire was also started in a nearby square that led to an electricity box catching fire — plunging the entire area into a blackout.

The blackout meant that all the street lamps and CCTV cameras surrounding the Museum failed, lending a huge advantage to the thieves.

It is not yet clear whether this fire was started by the thieves, but police are treating the incident as being connected to the theft.

Police also said there was also a car on a nearby road that was on fire, which they believe may be connected to the heist.

Three diamond jewelry sets were stolen by the intruders, according to the BBC.

The collection targeted by the thieves was founded in the 18th-century and is of huge importance to the history and culture of the people of Saxony, the German state in which the museum is located.

"This is a bitter day for the cultural heritage of Saxony," Roland Wöller, the interior minister for the Saxony region said, according to the Guardian newspaper.

"The thieves stole cultural treasures of immeasurable worth – that is not only the material worth but also the intangible worth to the state of Saxony, which is impossible to estimate."

The total value of the items stolen is estimated to be over €1 billion, but the head of the Dresden state museums Maroin Ackermann described the jewels as "priceless — we can't put a figure on it," according to the BBC.

Ackermann added that the items will be impossible to sell legally because of the widespread attention the theft has garnered.

Items in the collection include a sculpture known as "Moor with Emerald Cluster," and a coffee service set made entirely of gold.

Dresden Museum Partly Reopens After Jewelry Heist

The Green Vault rooms remained closed after thieves made off with Saxon royal treasures including diamond-encrusted brooches, buckles and a sword.

BERLIN — The Royal Palace museum in Dresden, Germany, reopened to the public on Wednesday, except for the rooms known as the Green Vault, where the police continued to hunt for evidence to help them track down the thieves who broke in two days earlier, making off with 11 rare Baroque jewels .

The police said evidence indicated that four thieves had carried out the robbery early Monday, spraying a fire extinguisher in their wake to erase their tracks. The thieves broke an iron gate and a window to enter a room in the Green Vault on the ground floor of the museum.

Among the treasures in the Green Vault — founded by August the Strong, prince-elector of Saxony and King of Poland — were several sets of royal jewels. The thieves used an ax to break the security glass and steal three of them — the “Diamond Rose,” “Diamond” and “Queens’ Jewelry” sets — taking a t otal of 11 entire pieces , parts of two other pieces and several buttons, Dirk Syndram, the director of the Green Vault, said on Wednesday.

“These three sets included diamonds in various cuts that date largely from the time of August the Strong and August III,” Mr. Syndram said in a statement. “They were set between 1782 and 1789.”

Among the items stolen were a sword with a diamond-encrusted handle, several shoe buckles and buttons made of diamonds, as well as brooches, a hair clip shaped like the sun and parts of a diamond necklace belonging to Queen Amalie Auguste from 1824.

The police have appealed to the public for tips but have so far found no trace of the thieves.

One piece from the “Diamond” set, a hat clip with a flawless 41-carat gem known as the Dresden Green Diamond, is currently on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for an exhibition. Even when in Dresden, the diamond is displayed separately from the rest of the set on another floor of the museum.

The theft has raised concerns about security at museums around Germany.

Marion Ackermann, the director of the Dresden State Art Collection, a consortium of museums that holds the treasures of the former royal house of Saxony, has repeatedly defended the collection’s security.

But Germany’s culture minister and the German Museum Association said they would discuss how better to protect the treasures in the country’s museums, while still keeping them accessible to the public.

Eckart Köhne, the association’s president, said in a statement, “The break-in at the Green Vault gives us a reason to re-examine whether the threat level has changed in recent years.”

“For this, the museums need assistance from their sponsors, as well as police and security specialists,” he added.

A surveillance video released by the police shows two figures, one carrying a flashlight, approaching a display case enclosed in glass. One then bends down, pulls an ax from a bag and repeatedly slams it into a panel of glass, which fragments and gives way.

“The case looks like a battlefield,” Mr. Syndram said.

The stolen jewels were not insured, and Ms. Ackermann and her team would not give a figure for their value, insisting that their worth lies in their historical and cultural significance as part of an intact set of royal jewels.

Because they are unique, they could not be sold on the open market, she said.

That has led to fears that the pieces will be broken down, the gems re-cut and the gold melted to render them sellable.

“Of course, if the pieces remained intact, the entire world is looking for them and they are not going to find much of a market,” said Chris Marinello, an expert with Art Recovery International, which specializes in finding and recovering stolen art.

“Every hour that goes by increases the likelihood that these are going to be broken up and destroyed,” he said, adding that he hoped the authorities would promise a reward for the return of the intact pieces.

Art historians and museum directors across the globe have joined in the outrage at the loss from a collection that was hidden to survive the Allied bombing of Dresden at the end of World War II. The treasures were later taken by the Soviet Union, but were returned to the former East Germany in the 1950s.

“They bear with them that history,” said Shira Brisman, an assistant professor in art history at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in art produced in German-speaking regions from the period.

The objects in the Green Vault collection are signs of power, Ms. Brisman said, artworks that could show off Saxony’s mining wealth, including tin, silver, copper and precious stone, and the skills of its artisans.

“On the one hand, they reflect wealth,” she said. “On the other hand, they reflect alliances.”

After its return to East Germany, the collection languished in relative obscurity behind the Iron Curtain for decades, despite their status as the biggest surviving princely art collection in Europe.

The Green Vault was partly destroyed during World War II but was rebuilt after German reunification and opened in 2006.

Police arrest 3 men year after huge jewel heist from Germany's Dresden Castle

Berlin &mdash German police said Tuesday that they had three suspects in custody almost a year after what may have been the biggest jewel heist in history . Berlin's police force said two more people were still being hunted in connection with the brazen theft of an estimated $1 billion worth of treasure from a castle in the city of Dresden.

The suspects were charged with aggravated gang theft and arson, but there was still no sign of the loot, and fading hopes of getting it back.

In November 2019, police released surveillance video showing two thieves breaking into the 500-year-old Dresden Castle and making off with 18th century treasure from its famous Green Vault.

They entered the castle through a window and, within a few minutes, they were gone with the historical jewelry from an exhibition display case. They fled in a car, which was later found burned out.

While initial estimates said the diamond-encrusted items were worth around $1 billion, Dresden State Art Collections director Marion Ackermann said the treasure had an "inestimable art and cultural historical value."

The heist triggered huge international attention and regional officials established a special commission to investigate.

File photo of a woman looking at precious objects in the Jewel Room of the Green Vault State Art Collection in Dresden, Germany, in 2006. Norbert Millauer/Getty

According to a spokesman for the Dresden police, the suspects in custody are German citizens with links to an Arab crime family, or clan, based in the German capital. Berlin's Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel called the searches and arrests a great success and "a further signal to the clan scene."

Trending News

The Arab clan implicated in the heist is well known to the police and has been accused of other major crimes, including the 2017 theft of a 220-pound gold coin from the Berlin Bode Museum.

Items among those stolen during a robbery from the Green Vault city palace in Dresden, Germany, November 25, 2019, are seen in an undated photo provided by the Saxony state police. Polizeidirektion Dresden handout/Getty

More than 1,600 police officers, including special forces from the federal government and seven states, took part in the large-scale operation. According to the public prosecutor's office, a total of 18 properties in Berlin were searched, including 10 apartments, garages and vehicles.

The focus of the operation remains "the search for the stolen art treasures and possible evidence such as storage media, clothing and tools," Saxony state police said on Twitter.

"It is also our goal to search for the stolen jewels," said a spokesman for the Dresden public prosecutor's office.

But the investigators didn't voice much hope that the objects would be returned to Dresden.

"You would have to be very lucky to find them a year after the crime," said Thomas Geithner, spokesman for the Dresden police force, adding that "hope dies last."

Dresden's senior public prosecutor Jürgen Schmidt said the suspects were identified with the help of surveillance camera video from the crime scene and forensic evidence that clearly linked the men to the scene and vehicles used in the heist.

The arrests took place in different parts of the country

Three Germans were arrested on suspicion of theft and arson, and will appear before an investigating judge later in the morning, the police said. The force said the arrests took place in different parts of the country, without going into detail. Security camera footage showed two men breaking into the museum through a grilled window in the early hours of November 25. Officers were on the scene five minutes after the alarm sounded, but the thieves escaped. All three were accused of serious gang robbery and two counts of arson, Dresden prosecutors said.

The robbers stole priceless 18th-century jewellery from the collection of Saxon ruler, Augustus the Strong. Items stolen included a sword whose grip is encrusted with nine large and 770 smaller diamonds and a shoulder piece which contains the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond, Dresden&rsquos Royal Palace had said after the robbery.

The collection was brought together in the 18th century by Augustus the Strong, elector of Saxony and later king of Poland, who commissioned ever more brilliant jewellery as part of his rivalry with France&rsquos King Louis XIV. The treasures of the Green Vault survived Allied bombing raids in World War II. They were returned to Dresden, the historic capital of the state of Saxony, in 1958. Meanwhile, Germany has been hit by several high-profile heists, with banks and museums frequent targets.

Here's some history about the Green Vault, which was broken into today

From CNN's Bianca Britton and Stephanie Halasz

One of the rooms in the Green Vault at the Royal Palace in Dresden is seen in April. Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/AFP/Getty Images

Several criminals stole artifacts of "immeasurable value" from the Green Vault in Dresden today.

We're not sure exactly what was taken — although the museum's chief said the stolen pieces include diamonds and gemstones. Here's what we know about the vault:

  • What's inside: The vault features an astounding collection of historical jewelry and precious ornaments — from shimmering bowls carved out of crystal and agate to jeweled gold figurines and goblets fashioned from gilded ostrich eggs.
  • The collection is signifiant: It houses one of the largest collections of treasure in Europe, with its spectacular baroque chambers filled with jewels and objets d'art.
  • Some history: The collection housed in the Green Vault was established in the early 18th century by Augustus the Strong, ruler of Saxony. He worked to establish Dresden as a major center for the arts, inviting talented sculptors, goldsmiths and painters to take up residence and commissioned a series of magnificent rooms to showcase his valuables as a way of advertising the city's cultural prominence in addition to its wealth.

Israeli intel firm says it helped solve billion-dollar German jewel heist

An Israeli business intelligence firm led by a former head of the Shin Bet security service helped achieve a recent breakthrough in the investigation into the brazen 2019 theft of 18th-century jewels from a unique collection in Germany believed to be worth over $1 billion, according to a report over the weekend.

Tuesday saw a massive police operation in Berlin, with more than 1,500 police carrying out a series of searches in the city and arresting three people. The suspects, identified only as German citizens, two aged 23 and one 26, were arrested on suspicion of organized robbery and arson.

Police issued photos of two others, wanted on the same charges, identifying them as Abdul Majed Remmo, 21, and Mohamed Remmo, 21.

The identity of the latest detained suspects is not yet clear. But Israel’s Channel 12 news reported the country’s CGI Group assisted the effort to hunt down the thieves.

The November 25, 2019, crime saw thieves break into Dresden’s Green Vault, one of the world’s oldest museums, during the night, and make off with three “priceless” sets of 18th century jewelry.

The Green Vault is one of the world’s oldest museums. It was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, comprising around 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials.

Shortly after the theft, authorities offered a €500,000 ($593,000) reward for information leading to the recovery of the jewels or the arrest of the thieves. But little progress had been made over the past year.

Members of the same extended family were convicted earlier this year for a similarly spectacular heist, the theft of a 100-kilogram (220 pound) Canadian gold coin dubbed the “Big Maple Leaf” from Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017. Cousins Ahmed Remmo and Wissam Remmo, along with a friend who worked as a security guard at the museum, were all convicted of that crime and sentenced to several years in prison.

“Immediately after the robbery we were approached by a European law firm that asked that we look at the security arrangements at the museum,” CGI Group’s Yaakov Peri, who led the Shin Bet agency between 1988 and 1994, told Channel 12.

“I can’t take the credit for solving [the case], I can say we assisted,” Peri said. “Early on in the probe it appeared likely that the thieves had cooperation on the inside. One of the museum employees likely cooperated with the infiltrators.”

Later on, CGI Group managed to establish contact with one of the alleged thieves on the dark net — a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools. The person offered to sell them two of the stolen stones for some $25 million.

“We gave all the material we had to the chief prosecutor in Dresden,” Peri said. “We cooperated with [the potential suspect] as though we will come and buy the stolen goods. We created a map marking out the areas where they offered to make the sale. This too we sent to the German prosecutors.

“There wasn’t a follow-up on that, but we can see that the areas we pointed to saw the arrests of the German crime family that the crime has been attributed to,” added Peri.

In Tuesday’s massive operation to arrest the suspects, a total of 1,638 police officers from Saxony, Berlin and several other states, as well as federal special police forces, searched a total of 18 locations, including 10 apartments and also garages and vehicles.

Their target was “art treasures and possible evidence such as computer storage media, clothing and tools,” Dresden police and prosecutors said. The searches, focused on Berlin’s Neukoelln district, did not immediately turn up any of the missing treasures.

“We’d have to have a lot of luck in order to find them a year after the crime,” Dresden police spokesman Thomas Geithner told reporters.

The director of Dresden’s museums, Marion Ackermann, said the raids and arrests were an encouraging development in the case.

“Of course we hope that the jewelry sets will be found and that they soon be able to be returned to their original location,” she said.

Berlin’s top security official, Andreas Geisel, said the raids Tuesday should serve as a warning to organized crime families in general.

“Nobody should believe that he set himself above the rules of the state,” Geisel said.

In March, prosecutors and police said they had determined that an Audi S6 used in the theft and later set alight in a Dresden garage was sold to an unidentified buyer in August.

They said they believe a young man who picked up the car from the seller in Magdeburg, another eastern German city, was connected to the break-in and released a sketch of a slim, dark-haired man believed to be about 25 years old.

The car may have been repainted before the break-in, authorities said at the time, bolstering suspicions that the theft was planned well in advance.

German news agency dpa quoted prosecutors as saying they believe at least six people were directly involved in the heist.

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Europe's biggest art burglary

In 2008, armed thieves pilfered four paintings amounting to a total value of 180 million Swiss francs (€156 million, $182 million) from the collection Bührle in Zurich. "The Boy in the Red Vest" by Paul Cézanne, "Ludovic Lepic and His Daughters" by Edgar Degas, "Blossoming Chestnut Branches" by Vincent van Gogh, and "Poppy Field Near Vétheuil" by Claude Monet (pictured) all resurfaced later on.

The most spectacular art robberies in history

Watch the video: -Τέλος εποχής για τις μεταπωλήσεις κοσμημάτων (June 2022).


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