6 men on trial for spectacular theft of jewelry from Dresden museum

BERLIN (AP) — Six men went on trial Friday in Germany for a 2019 Green Vault Museum trial in Dresden.

The defendants, aged 22 to 28, appeared in a regional court in the eastern German city, charged with gang robbery and arson. The robbery reportedly resulted in the theft of 21 jewels comprising around 4,300 gemstones worth more than 113 million euros ($126 million).

In their opening statement, prosecutors said the men were armed with a revolver and a pistol with a silencer, German news agency dpa reported.

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

The stolen jewels have not been found. The head of the Saxon State Art Collection in Dresden, Marion Ackermann, said she hoped the international attention surrounding the treasures would make it more difficult to sell them, dpa reported.

Two of the men on trial were convicted in 2020 of a similar heist, the theft of a 100-kilogram (220-pound) Canadian gold coin dubbed the “big maple leaf” from the Bode Museum in Berlin in 2017.

The piece, with an estimated value of 3.75 million euros, has also not been found. Authorities suspect it was likely cut into small pieces and sold.

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