- Burglars in Germany appear to have carried out a sophisticated heist in a German museum and stolen jewellery worth €1 billion ($US1.1 billion).
- The burglary took place at the Green Vault at Dresden’s Royal Palace, which is home to a collection of jewellery and artifacts several hundred years old.
- Police said in a press conference they believe the thieves may have started a fire nearby which cut out the power supply in the area before breaking in to the Museum.
- The blackout meant that all the street lamps and CCTV cameras surrounding the Museum were turned off as a result, lending a huge advantage to the thieves.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Thieves in the Germany city of Dresden carried out what authorities believe may be the biggest art heist in the country since the Second World War, stealing around 1 billion euros ($US1.1 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 jewellery 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.