5 Guilty in Notorious Dresden Jewel Heist

All 5, from Germany's Remmo organized crime clan, acted with 'considerable criminal energy'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2023 1:30 PM CDT
5 Convicted in Daring $129M Jewel Heist
Police at the Residence Palace with the Green Vault in Dresden, Germany, Nov. 25, 2019. A German court on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, convicted five men of aggravated arson, dangerous bodily injury, theft with weapons, damage to property, and intentional arson in the theft of 18th-century jewels.   (Sebastian Kahnert/dpa via AP, File)

On Nov. 25, 2019, several men broke into Germany's Green Vault, inside Dresden's Royal Palace, and absconded with roughly $129 million in 18th-century jewels in what the BBC calls "a meticulously planned heist." On Tuesday, a German court convicted five men of said heist on charges that included aggravated arson in combination with dangerous bodily injury, theft with weapons, damage to property, and intentional arson, per the AP. The court heard that the men—all members of Germany's Remmo organized crime clan acted with "considerable criminal energy" with a goal "to get rich."

The crime? The thieves staked out the museum several times—cutting through window bars and taping them back into place—then on the early morning of the heist, set fire to a circuit breaker, causing a blackout in the neighborhood, bashed their way into the Green Vault with axes, and made off with 21 pieces of jewelry that contained more than 4,300 diamonds. The time? Sentences for the men, ranging in age from 24 to 29, were four years and four months to six years and three months. Many of the jewels were recovered in late 2022. Marion Ackermann, director of Dresden's State Art Collections, tells the BBC that "there are people who steal artworks out of passion for art, but this was really the opposite. They had no idea of what they had taken." (Take a deep dive into the history of the heist.)

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