The Trial Begins, but the Jewels Are Still Missing

Six men are accused in the notorious 2019 'Green Vault' heist in Germany
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2022 4:17 PM CST
Trial in Notorious Jewel Heist Gets Underway
Accused jewel thief Rabieh R., right, hides his face as he is led into a courtroom of the Higher Regional Court in Dresden, eastern Germany on Friday. He and five other defendants are on trial for gang robbery and arson after allegedly stealing 18th-century jewels from a state museum, per the AP.   (Jens Schlueter/ Pool via AP)

Six men went on trial Friday in Germany over a spectacular theft of 18th-century treasures from Dresden’s Green Vault Museum in 2019, the AP reports. (Read about the wild heist details here.) The defendants, aged 23 to 28, appeared before a regional court in the eastern German city accused of gang robbery and arson. The heist is alleged to have resulted in the theft of 21 items of jewelry comprising about 4,300 gems worth more than $126 million. In their opening statement, prosecutors said the men were armed with a revolver and a pistol with a silencer, German news agency dpa reported.

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. The stolen jewelry has not been recovered. Two of the men on trial were convicted in 2020 for a similar heist, the theft of a 220-pound Canadian gold coin dubbed the “Big Maple Leaf” from Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017. The coin, with an estimated value of $4.18 million, also has not been recovered. Authorities suspect that it was likely cut up into smaller pieces and sold off.

(More jewel heist stories.)

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