Five men convicted over 2019 Dresden jewel heist

The Jewel Room of the Green Vault Museum in Dresden's Royal Palace of the Dresden State Art Collections (
The Jewel Room of the Green Vault Museum in Dresden's Royal Palace of the Dresden State Art Collections ( Copyright Jens Meyer/AP
By Katy Dartford with AP
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Six members of a notorious criminal gang have been on trial in Germany over the spectacular heist in which 18th-century jewels were snatched from the state museum in Dresden.

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Five men have been convicted of the theft of priceless 18th-century jewels worth 113 million euros from a museum in the German city of Dresden.

The gang stole 21 pieces of jewellery containing more than 4300 diamonds from the Green Vault Museum on November 25, 2019, in what German media have dubbed the biggest art heist in modern history.

One of the world’s oldest museums, the Green Vault, 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.

JUERGEN KARPINSKI/AFP or licensors
A large diamond-encrusted breast bow that was stolen from the historic Green in November 2019JUERGEN KARPINSKI/AFP or licensors

The men caused a fire just before the break-in to cut the power supply to street lights outside the museum. They also set fire to a car in a nearby garage before fleeing to Berlin. 

They were caught several months later in raids in Berlin.

The five men, aged 24 to 29, were convicted of particularly aggravated arson in combination with dangerous bodily injury, theft with weapons, damage to property and intentional arson.

They were given sentences of between four years and four months to six years and three months, the German news agency dpa reported. One defendant was acquitted.

Sebastian Kahnert/AP
Police investigators walk in front of the Residenzschloss, Residence Palace, building with the Green Vault in Dresden.Sebastian Kahnert/AP

In January, there was a plea bargain between the defence, prosecution and court after most of the stolen jewels were returned.

The plea bargain had been agreed to by four defendants, who subsequently admitted their involvement in the crime through their lawyers. 

JUERGEN KARPINSKI/AFP or licensors
One of the pieces stolen from the Royal Palace that houses the historic Green VaultJUERGEN KARPINSKI/AFP or licensors

The fifth defendant also confessed, but only to the procurement of objects such as the axes used to make holes in the museum display case, dpa reported.

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