Six Germans indicted for the spectacular theft of a Dresden museum
German prosecutors said on Thursday they had charged six men in a spectacular 2019 heist when more than a dozen diamond-encrusted artifacts worth more than 100 million euros were snatched from a state museum.
The suspects, all German nationals between the ages of 22 and 27, are charged with aggravated gang robbery and aggravated arson.
Two of them had previous convictions for stealing a 100-kilogram (220-pound) gold coin from Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017 – another theft that rocked Germany.
Armed with a loaded revolver and a self-loading pistol with a silencer, the men reportedly stormed into Dresden’s Green Vault museum in the early hours of November 25, 2019, carrying off 21 jewels encrusted with more than 4,300 diamonds.
The insured value of the coins reached 113.8 million euros ($135 million), prosecutors said in a statement.
None of the stolen items have been found.
The suspects are said to have started a fire to cut off the power supply to the street lights around the museum just before the burglary.
And while they were making their jaunt to Berlin, they allegedly set fire to an Audi S6 in an underground car park, leaving a total of 61 vehicles damaged.
The material damage is estimated at more than one million euros.
– Clan link –
Investigators are still looking for the stolen items, prosecutors added.
The Royal Palace in Dresden, which runs the museum, had said the items seized were priceless 18th-century jewelery and other valuables from the collection of Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong.
They included a sword whose hilt is encrusted with nine large diamonds and 770 small diamonds, and a shoulder pad which contains the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond, the royal palace in Dresden said.
Prosecutors did not name the suspects.
But during their manhunt, police confirmed they were members of the so-called “Remmo clan”, a family of Arab descent known for its links to organized crime.
In recent years, these “clans” of mainly Middle Eastern origin have become a particular target for the Berlin police.
In 2019, investigators targeted the Remmos with the seizure of 77 properties worth a total of 9.3 million euros, accusing them of having been bought with the proceeds of various crimes, including a bank robbery in 2014 .
Police also found no trace of the Canadian coin taken in the March 2017 heist at the Bode Museum, located near Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Berlin apartment.
The “Big Maple Leaf”, one of five coins minted in 2007, is considered the second largest gold coin in the world after the one-ton Australian kangaroo issued in 2012.
© 2021 AFP