Last month, right under the nose of German police, the biggest heist in history occurred. Art thieves managed to steal over $1.1 billion in jewels from the Green Vault Museum in just a matter of minutes! Now, the German police are offering €500,000 ($556,000) to anyone with information about the massive heist. Here’s everything we know so far…
The Shocking Dresden Museum Heist
Stand aside, Danny Ocean and Thomas Crown! During the last week of November, as we here in the States prepared our Thanksgiving meals, the world’s biggest heist occurred right under everybody’s noses!
On November 26, at 4:59 a.m., German police received an emergency call to the Green Vault in Dresden, Germany. The museum holds some extremely rare and precious 18th century jewels and art. Police arrived at the scene at 5:06 a.m. Unfortunately, however, they arrived too late. And, believe it or not, police still don’t have the first clue as to who pulled off this crime, why they did it, or what they plan on doing with the loot.
One thing’s for sure, however: whoever planned this has some skills! The entire robbery went down like a scene from a Hollywood heist flick. Here’s how it went down…
A Cinematic Break In, And A Quick Escape
The whole thing actually started an hour before the break-in, quite far away from the Green Vault Museum. Around 4:00 am the Dresden Fire Department, the town where the Green Vault resides, received a call about an electrical panel near the Residential Palace. Unbeknownst to them, the thieves had started the fire and fled the scene. The fire caused the museum’s alarm system and the surrounding streetlights to deactivate. Of course, this left a massive hole in the museum’s security.
While fire crews dealt with the fire, the robbers performed a “smash and grab” at the museum. Like something out of Ocean’s 11, they drilled a hole the size of a head into the museum’s wall, gaining access. From there, they simply took as much as they could carry, escaping through the same hole. The only pieces they left behind were the ones they could not smuggle outside.
While the alarm system runs on the primary power grid, the security cameras run on their own batteries. So, one security camera actually managed to catch the robbery in real-time. In the video, which police released on YouTube, you can see two men breaking into the Green Vault. One carried a torch and ax, which he used to smash jewelry display cases. After they escaped, a street camera captured the thieves fleeing into the night. “The whole act lasted only a few minutes,” German police said.
After feeling, it seems as though the thieves simply vanished into thin air…
The “Priceless” Items
The Green Vault, along with the German Police, estimates the value of the stolen goods at 1 billion euros, just under $1.2 billion. However, these items are so rare, experts said that many are actually priceless. Among the stolen items are the jewels of 18th-century Saxony ruler Augustus the Strong, a sword a hilt encrusted with over 700 diamonds, a diamond bow decorated with another 600 diamonds, and many more. The police released only eleven images of the stolen items to the public; it’s unknown how many things the thieves actually stole.
Still, some wonder why the robbers did the crime in the first place, as it will be almost impossible to sell these items on the black market. The jewels are simply too rare and recognizable! It is the museum’s management worst fears the robbers might break down or melt the treasures to sell them. As such, they pleaded with them across media channels to keep them whole and return them. Broken down, the items will likely still fetch somewhere in the range of $200 million to $300 million.
Today, the German police are offering the public €500,000 for tips and clues – if it can bring them closer to solving the case and finding the thieves and the jewels. So far, over 500 tips and calls have been made to the police station; it’s unknown whether any of them lead to the actual robbers. The German authorities are remaining tight-lipped about it all until, perhaps, they receive a strong lead.