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Authorities Have One Big Fear After Brazen Jewel Heist

Pieces are so recognizable they might be melted down and lost forever
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 4:51 PM CST
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One of the stolen jewels.   (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Juergen Karpinski via AP)
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(Newser) – The historic jewelry stolen during this week's brazen vault heist in Germany is so distinctive that thieves would likely have a hard time finding a buyer. But authorities at Dresden's Green Vault aren't too happy about that, reports the BBC. Instead, they're worried the thieves will melt down the pieces or break them apart in order to make their money. "I knew exactly what was going to happen once I heard what was taken—that we were not going to see these items remain intact," says Christopher Marinello of the group Art Recovery International. The word being used a lot in regard to the heist is "priceless," but the German newspaper Bild has a tangible estimate for the haul's worth: $1.1 billion.

So where were the guards as the thieves were busy smashing display cases? On site, watching everything unfold on a live video feed, reports the New York Times. A museum official explains that the guards aren't armed, and standard procedure calls for them to alert police instead of trying to intervene themselves. That's exactly what they did, but the thieves were gone by the time the first officers arrived 10 minutes later. (See video of the heist.)

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