Crime

6 Charged in Connection with Green Vault Jewel Heist

CrimeSep 07, 2021

6 Charged in Connection with Green Vault Jewel Heist

The men are charged with the theft of 18th century royal jewels from the museum in Dresden, Germany in November 2019.

Six suspects have been charged with breaking into the jewel room of the historic Green Vault in Dresden, Germany in November 2019 and stealing several pieces dating back to the 18th century. (Image credit: © Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo: David Brandt)
Berlin—Six suspects have been charged in connection with the theft of 18th century royal jewels from the Green Vault museum in Dresden, Germany in November 2019.

The men, German nationals ages 22 to 27, are charged with organized robbery and arson after breaking into the museum and swiping 21 pieces of jewelry with an insured value of at least $135 million, as per an NPR report.

Marion Ackermann, Dresden’s State Art Collections director, said at the time of the theft that the true value of the items couldn’t be measured.

“We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell,” she told reporters. “The material value doesn’t reflect the historic meaning.”

The thieves are said to have lit a fire ahead of the break-in, disrupting the power supply to the lights above the museum windows and the streetlights outside.

An unregistered Audi A6 was also found set on fire nearby in an underground parking lot, which Dresden police confirmed matched the description of the getaway car.

The investigation was dubbed “Operation Epaulette.”

The missing jewels are still unaccounted for, and the suspects have not addressed the accusations against them.

SEE: Some of the Jewelry Stolen from the Green Vault


Two of the suspects were already serving sentences for robbing the Bode Museum in Berlin, swiping a 220-pound Canadian gold coin dubbed the “Big Maple Leaf.”

That coin, valued at around $4.2 million, has also never been recovered, believed by authorities to have been cut into pieces and sold.

The Green Vault is one of the world’s oldest museums, created in 1723 by Augustus the Strong of Saxony, who wanted to establish Dresden as an arts hub.

His treasury, on display in Dresden’s Royal Palace, includes 4,000 jewels, objets d’art, and other historically significant items.

The museum’s most famous treasure is the Dresden Green Diamond, a 41-carat green diamond, which was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for an exhibition at the time.

Michael Kretschmer, minister president of Saxony, took to Twitter at the time to comment on the heist, stating: “It’s not just the state art collections that were robbed, but us Saxons.”

“One can’t understand the history of Saxony without the Green Vault.”

An indictment was filed at the state court in Dresden, which then decides whether the case will go to trial.

 Related stories will be right here …
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.
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