Up to €1 billion worth of treasure has been stolen from a German museum, in a heist that’d make Danny Ocean sweat.
Back in 2010, former museum director Martin Roth boasted that the Green Vault in Dresden was ‘as secure as Fort Knox’, fitted with ‘invisible’ security systems.
However, after making a getaway with jewellery and diamonds worth millions, if not billions, police are calling it the largest art heist in postwar history – and the perpetrators are still on the run.
The thieves reportedly targeted the vault’s jewellery collection in the gallery this morning, November 25, switching off the power supply at 5.00am and entering the building via a small corner window, as German tabloid Bild reports.
While police are yet to confirm the exact monetary value, state interior minister Roland Woeller described the treasures as having ‘immeasurable worth’.
At a press conference, Woeller said:
[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.
Michael Kretschmer, the leader of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital, echoed Woeller’s sentiments, saying that not just the gallery was robbed, but also the Saxonians.
The treasures one can find there, as well as in the Residence Palace, have been collected by the people of Saxony over many centuries and are hard-won treasures. You cannot understand the history of our country, or the free state of Saxony without the Green Vault and the state art collections of Saxony.
It’s reported the thieves escaped in a saloon car – however, authorities are hoping surveillance cameras may have captured them, despite the electrical failure.
At around 5.00am, local firefighters were called to extinguish a blaze at a nearby power distributor – authorities now suspect that could be connected to the heist.
In a statement this morning, November 25, Saxony police said they were yet to identify a perpetrator, ‘nor have we yet made any arrests’.
If the estimated value of €1bn is true, it would easily be the largest art theft in history, far surpassing the $500 million raid on the Gardner Museum in Boston nearly 30 years ago.
Treasures stored in the Green Vault include a 3.8cm figure of a Moor studded with emeralds, as well as a 648-carat sapphire – a royal gift from Russia’s Tsar Peter the Great.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.