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German police find loot stolen from Dresden museum

December 17, 2022

The loot, stolen from Dresden's Green Vault in 2019, had a total value of more than €113 million. Stolen items included some 4,300 diamonds and gemstones from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Visitors stand in the Jewel Room during the reopening of the Green Vault Museum in Dresden's Royal Palace of the Dresden State Art Collections in Dresden, Germany
German authorities said they have recovered a significant part of the 18th-century treasures stolen from Dresden's Green Vault museumImage: Jens Meyer/AP/picture alliance

Investigators found a "considerable part" of items stolen from Dresden's Green Vault in 2019, German authorities said on Saturday.

Police and the public prosecutor's office said 31 individual items or pieces of items were seized on Friday night.

The items were recovered as part of court proceedings against several suspects, authorities said.

What was stolen in the 2019 Dresden heist?

On November 25, 2019, two thieves broke into the Green Vault in Dresden Castle in the eastern state of Saxony. They smashed a display case and stole items from the 17th and 18th centuries, including some 4,300 diamonds and gemstones.

The loot had a total value of more than €113 million ($119 million).

The stolen items included a sword with a diamond-encrusted hilt and a shoulder piece which contains the 49-carat Dresden white diamond.

"The police and judiciary have done a first-class job," Saxon Premier Michael Kretschmer said on Twitter, referring to the investigations.

"Saxony says: Thank you! The valuable artworks of the Green Vault are part of our state's cultural heritage."

6 suspects on trial

The discovery comes during the trial of six suspects over the raid of the Green Vault museum. The trial was opened in January and is set to resume on Tuesday.

"Exploratory talks" between defense and the prosecution toward the return of the stolen items led to a breakthrough, police and prosecutors said, without providing further information.

Special police have escorted the retrieved items from Berlin back to Dresden, where experts will verify them for their authenticity.

The six suspects, aged between 22 and 28, are accused of severe gang theft and arson. All of them allegedly belong to Berlin's "Remmo" clan.

Two of the accused have already been convicted of involvement in the theft of a 100-kilogram gold coin from Berlin's Bode Museum in 2017.

sdi/ar (dpa, AFP)