German men charged for million euro heist on Dresden museum

The robbery took place in 2019, when thieves gained entry and millions of euros worth of items within minutes
The robbery took place in 2019, when thieves gained entry and millions of euros worth of items within minutes Copyright Jens Meyer/AP
Copyright Jens Meyer/AP
By Tim Gallagher with AP
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The men will stand trial in January for stealing precious jewellery of historical note from one of Europe's oldest museums.


Six men will go on trial next year for a spectacular million euro heist that took place in Dresden, Germany.

The men, all of whom are German citizens, are accused of stealing a collection of 18th-century jewels from the famous Green Vault Museum, Dresden, in 2019.

The trial will open on January 28, and the men, aged between 22 and 28, are charged with organised robbery and arson.

Prosecutors say that the break at the eastern German city’s museum took place on November 25.

The court will hear how, to cover their break in, the alleged thieves set a fire which cut the power supply for street lights outside the museum in the eastern German city.

The men then sawed through iron bars to gain entry to the display room. CCTV showed two of the burglars entering the museum with torches in search of valuable items to snatch.

The gang are also accused of lighting fire to a vehicle in a nearby garage before making their escape to Berlin.

The Green Vault is one of the world's oldest museums. It was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, comprising around 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials.

What was stolen in the Green Vault heist?

21 pieces of jewellery, containing more than 4,300 diamonds, were stolen all together.

Items taken include diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald jewellery, jewel-encrusted buttons and cufflinks, and a sword with nearly 800 diamonds set into the handle and hilt.

Objects of particular historical note that were taken include a set of jewellery that belonged to a queen of Saxony, and a diamond-encrusted medal that had belonged to Augustus the Strong, former King of Poland.

Jens Meyer/AP
Visitors to the Green Vault see thier faces reflected in empty display cases formerly holding the stolen goodsJens Meyer/AP

The single most valuable piece stolen in the robbery was the famed 49-carat Dresden White Diamond, originally taken from India.

"There is nowhere, in any other collection in Europe, jewels or jewel sets that have been preserved in this form and quality and quantity as these royal sets," Dirk Syndram, director of the Green Vault said after the heist.

When the museum reopened in May 2020 display cases holding the stolen goods were left empty.

Estimates of the stolen loot’s value vary with AP reporting the items stolen are worth €113.8 million, however German outlet DW claims the amount is over €1 billion.

The missing treasures have so far not been recovered and experts fear they may have been broken up for sale.

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