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Celtic gold coins worth millions stolen from German museum

November 22, 2022

Staff at the museum in Manching, a town in Bavaria, discovered a broken display case. Authorities said a daring heist occurred in the early hours Tuesday.

Gold coins spread on a table
The coins were discovered in 1999 but date back to the third century BC.Image: Frank Mächler/dpa/picture alliance

Employees at the Roman-Celtic museum in the Bavarian town of Manching discovered 450 Celtic coins valued at several million euros was apparently looted from a display case early Tuesday morning. 

Local police said that a "showcase was broken," although investigators provided scant additional hints as to who or what may be behind the alleged heist, AFP news agency reported. 

The coins were the showpiece of the museum. Specialists from Bavaria's state criminal police are investigating.

"The loss of the Celtic treasure is a disaster,'' said Bavaria's Minister of Science and Arts Markus Blume. "As a testament to our history, the gold coins are irreplaceable.''

Phone and internet cut at time of heist

Authorities were quick to note that there had been a disruption to phone and internet services at the time.

Mayor Herbert Nerb told the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, "They cut off the whole of Manching."

"The museum is actually a high-security location. But all the connections to the police were severed," he added.

Nerb said the looting of the 450 gold coins a "complete catastrophe" for his town.

The coins were discovered in 1999 but date back to the third century BC.

Latest high-profile heist

The robbery is the latest in a series of high-profile heists in Germany of museums.

Dresden's Royal Palace was hit by thieves in 2019 who staged a bold nigh-time raid on the Green Vault Museum. That heist was worth at least €113.8 million ($117 million).

ar/jcg (AFP, dpa)