In Dresden, Germany, you’ll find the Green Vault, housed in eight ornate rooms in the Residenzschloss – a former royal palace.
In it, you can view roughly 3 000 items of jewellery and other treasures decorated with gold, silver, ivory and pearl. They include a figure of a moor studded with emeralds and a 648-carat sapphire – a royal gift from Russia’s Tsar Peter the Great.
The collection is so rare and expensive that experts have struggled to assign a specific value to it.
In other words, if you’re planning on risking everything to pull off a truly spectacular heist, this is the place to hit.
Maybe it was just a matter of time because according to the BBC, thieves, armed with crowbars and other weapons, have pulled off what some are calling “the biggest art heist in history”.
Take a tour of the Green Vault to get an idea of just how opulent the collection is before we go into the details of the heist:
That priceless 41-carat green diamond is currently on show in New York, otherwise, I’m sure the thieves would have added it to their shopping list.
Officials are still trying to figure out exactly how much they did manage to steal, apart from the three diamond jewellery sets that are missing. The sets consist of 37 parts each, and there are fears that the thieves may try to break them up.
Authorities think that the heist played out like this:
The thieves – still on the run – removed part of an iron grille on a ground-floor window, then smashed the glass.
At about 05:00 (04:00 GMT) on Monday, firefighters were called to tackle a blaze in a nearby electricity junction box.
There is speculation that the fire disabled the museum’s alarm system. It put out some of the street lights.
Police are still looking over the security footage which shows two suspects in the dark, but they think that more people might have been involved in the robbery:
You can’t pull off a heist without a crew. Everyone knows that.
Saxony’s minister-president, Michael Kretschmer, voiced outrage at the crime, saying “not only were the state art collections burgled, but the people of Saxony too”.
“The valuables housed in the Green Vault and Residenzschloss were acquired by people in the Saxony Free State with difficulty, over many centuries.” He said the collection was an integral part of Saxony’s history.
So far, police have found a burning car early on Monday morning which they believe may have been the getaway car used by the thieves.
The investigation is ongoing.
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