Heist Of The Century: 6 Face Trial On $129 Million Diamond Raid
Six men accused of stealing $129 million worth of diamond-encrusted jewelry from a German museum are to face trial in Dresden next month.
A court date of Jan. 28 has been set for the men, who have been identified only as German nationals ages 22 to 28. They are accused of breaking into the Green Vault Museum on Nov. 25, 2019, and stealing 21 pieces of jewelry containing more than 4,300 diamonds. Authorities said the total insured value of the jewelry is at least $129 million.
Two of the men are accused of breaking into the building early in the morning and using an ax to make holes in a display case to get at the jewelry.
The Green Vault Museum, founded in 1723 by Augustus the Strong of Poland and Saxony, is among the oldest in the world and is said to hold the largest treasure collection in Europe. Among the items reported to have been stolen are the 62-carat cushion-cut Dresden White Diamond and the Polish Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest merit award to civilians and the military dating to 1705.
Authorities said the men allegedly set a fire before they broke in as a way to cut the power supply for streetlights near the museum. They also are accused of setting fire to a car in a nearby garage before fleeing to Berlin.
Investigators said they found a museum window that had been cut into days earlier and temporarily glued back together. This was not noticed at the time it occurred, investigators said, because the area was in a blind spot hidden from surveillance cameras.
The jewels have not been recovered, according to police in Saxony, and a reward of 500,000 euros ($566,000) has been offered for finding the stolen property.
The case has been widely referred to as a “spectacular” jewelry theft.
Police said at the time of the heist that they had enlisted 40 criminology experts to solve the case.
At the time of the theft, police said, “Security staff alerted the Dresden police about the break-in early in the morning. This then triggered extensive search measures, during which, among other things, 16 radio patrol cars were involved.
“At the same time, the federal police and neighboring police stations were included in the investigation. … Against the background of the events, the Dresden Police Department has set up a special commission.”
The suspects were all detained last year after a series of police raids.
Edited by Judith Isacoff and Kristen Butler