Six Germans are arrested for spectacular €100million Dresden museum heist that saw more than a dozen diamond-encrusted artefacts stolen
- Six German men aged 22-27 have been arrested in connection with 2019 heist
- Thieves stole jewellery worth around £97,650,000 from the Green Vault Museum
- Items included a 49-carat diamond and diamond-encrusted sword hilt
- The men are accused of aggravated gang robbery and aggravated arson
- Police are still searching for the stolen goods
German prosecutors have arrested six men over a spectacular 2019 heist which saw more than a dozen diamond-encrusted artefacts worth more than €100 million were snatched from a state museum.
The suspects, all German nationals aged between 22 and 27, are accused of aggravated gang robbery and aggravated arson.
Two of the men had previously been convicted for stealing in 2017 a 100-kilogramme (220-pound) gold coin from Berlin’s Bode Museum – another robbery that shook up Germany.
Armed with a loaded revolver and an automatic-loading gun with a silencer, the men allegedly broke into the Green Vault museum in Dresden in the early hours of November 25, 2019, making away with 21 pieces of jewellery encrusted with more than 4,300 diamonds.
The stolen items included a sword (left) whose hilt is encrusted with nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, and a epaulette (right) which contains the famous 49-carat Dresden White diamond
Armed with a loaded revolver and an automatic-loading gun with a silencer, the men allegedly broke into the Green Vault museum in Dresden in the early hours of November 25, 2019, making away with 21 pieces of jewellery encrusted with more than 4,300 diamonds
The insured value of the pieces reached 113.8 million euros (£97,650,000), said prosecutors in a statement.
None of the stolen items have been recovered.
The suspects are believed to have started a fire to cut off the power supply for street lighting around the museum just before the burglary.
And as they were making their getaway to Berlin, they allegedly set fire to an Audi S6 in an underground carpark, leaving a total of 61 vehicles damaged.
The property damages are estimated at more than a million euros.
Investigators are still searching for the stolen objects, added the prosecutors.
Dresden’s Royal Palace, which runs the museum, had said the items taken were priceless 18th-century jewellery and other valuables from the collection of the Saxon ruler August the Strong.
They included a sword whose hilt is encrusted with nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, and an epaulette which contains the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond, Dresden’s Royal Palace said.
Prosecutors have not named the suspects in accordance with German privacy laws.
But during their manhunt, police had confirmed the suspects were members of the so-called ‘Remmo clan’, a family of Arab origin notorious for ties to organised crime.
In recent years, such ‘clans’ of primarily Middle Eastern origin have become a particular focus for police in Berlin.
At a separate trial in Berlin on Thursday, another member of the Remmo family confessed to the robbery of an armoured money carrier in the German capital.
Together with four other suspects, Muhamed Remmo, 31, had dressed up as a trash collector for the heist outside a bank branch in western Berlin’s shopping avenue Kurfuerstendamm.
He threatened security guards with a blank pistol and sprayed teargas at them while his accomplices loaded their getaway car with more than 600,000 euros in cash.
Investigators in 2019 targeted the Remmos with the seizure of 77 properties worth a total of 9.3 million euros, charging that they were purchased with the proceeds of various crimes, including a 2014 bank robbery.
An ‘epaulette’ of the diamond rose set (left) and a jewel of the Polish White Eagle Order (right) that were stolen from the Green Vault
A hat clasp of the diamond rose set (left) and a Breast Star of the Polish White Eagle Order (right) that were stolen from the Green Vault
Police have also found no trace of the Canadian coin taken in the March 2017 robbery at the Bode Museum, located close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Berlin apartment.
The ‘Big Maple Leaf’, one of five minted in 2007, is considered the world’s second-largest gold coin after the one-tonne Australian Kangaroo issued in 2012.
In November 2020, three people were arrested in connection with the 2019 heist after police rolled out early morning raids at apartments across Berlin.
A total of 1,638 police officers searched 18 apartments, garages and vehicles for the jewellery and other evidence including digital data, clothes and tools, mostly in the city’s southern district of Neukoelln.
What are the world’s biggest heists?
Up to one billion euros’ (£850million or $1.1billion) worth of treasures may have been stolen in today’s break-in which would make it the largest heist ever.
It would surpass a series of other famous thefts, including:
Theft of the Mona Lisa, Paris- $700million at today’s prices
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was stolen from the Louvre in Paris in 1911.
The thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, eventually took it to Italy, where it was recovered and returned in 1914.
When it was assessed for insurance in the 1960s, the Mona Lisa was valued at $100million – meaning it would be worth around $700million today.
Gardner Museum, Boston – $500million
In March 1990, two thieves stole 13 artworks worth $500million from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
The pair disguised themselves as Boston police officers and left with works of art by Rembrandt and Manet among others.
The crime remains unsolved and last year the museum renewed an offer of $10million to help find the artworks.
Hatton Garden, London – estimates up to £200million
A gang of ageing criminals ransacked 73 deposit boxes at the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit building in London’s jewellery district in 2015.
Disguised as workmen, they abseiled down a lift shaft over the Easter weekend and used a diamond-tipped drill to cut through the vault wall.
The thieves stole gold, silver, diamonds and jewellery and some estimates at the time put the value at up to £200million.
Nazi theft of Adele Bloch-Bauer I – $135million
A painting of his wife by Jewish artist Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer was stolen by the Nazis in 1941.
It remained in Austria until 2006 when it was returned to the Bloch-Bauer family and sold for what was then a record $135million.
The Scream, Oslo – $120million
Edvard Munch’s iconic painting The Scream was stolen by armed robbers in broad daylight in 2004.
It was recovered by police two years later and one of the thieves died while still at large.
In 2012, another version of the painting was sold in the US for $120million.
Diamond heist, Antwerp – $100million
In 2003, thieves cleared vaults at the Antwerp Diamond Centre during a weekend, with diamonds, gold and jewellery worth over $100million taken.
The thieves got past infrared heat detectors and a lock with millions of possible combinations.
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