6 men on trial for $128m jewelry theft from Dresden museum in 2019
Six men in Germany accused of stealing 18th century jewelery from the Green Vault Museum in Dresden Castle went on trial on Friday. The trial took place at Dresden District Court, where the men appeared in handcuffs and held large folders to cover their faces. The heist is considered one of the most audacious thefts to take place in November 2019.
According to The Guardian, the defendants, whose ages ranged between 22 and 28, were identified as brothers and cousins and were part of a Berlin clan made up of 10 families. Said clan is said to include more than 1,000 members responsible for other high profile burglaries in recent years. Based on German court practice, defendants were referred to only by their family’s surname, Remmo, listed in Germany’s notorious crime families.
The thieves were able to get away with 21 jewels containing more than 4,300 gems and diamonds worth 114 million euros ($128 million). Based on court records, the men broke into the city’s Green Vault in what appears to be a carefully choreographed heist. The whole plot would have been planned since the previous summer. Initially, the thieves had set fire to a circuit breaker that sent all street lighting around Dresden Castle into total darkness. Armed with a revolver and a pistol with a silencer, the thieves broke into the museum.
The thieves smashed a display case containing the jewelry 56 times within 30 seconds. The jewelry was then seized with fishing twine. The masked men used foam from the fire extinguisher to cover their tracks as they sped into their Audi getaway vehicle which they burned in an underground car park shortly after. The entire heist was thought to have been completed in just 10 minutes.
Authorities said the stolen loot included a large diamond rose as well as several skirt buttons, a rapier, epaulettes, brooches, two shoe buckles, a hatpin and a gemstone of the Polish Order of the ‘White Eagle.
Meanwhile, the answer to whether the jewels will ever be recovered remains up in the air. Marion Ackermann, head of the Saxophoney’s State Art collection, said she hoped news of the heist would attract international attention and make it harder to sell the treasures.
Two of the defendants were legally minors at the time of the robbery and will be tried in juvenile court while three were arrested in November 2020. Shortly after, two brothers were arrested in December of the same year while the other was arrested in was arrested in May 2021. The last suspect was arrested last summer.