Trial in Germany for a spectacular diamond theft

More than two years after a daring museum robbery in Dresden, eastern Germany, six members of organized crime are on trial as of Friday. But the mined diamonds and jewels are still missing.

The heist at the end of 2019 at the Grünes Gewölbe museum, a jewel of Saxony’s heritage, caused astonishment both for its sophistication and for the value of the loot, valued at 100 million euros ($111.5 million).

The six defendants, two of them minors at the time of the events, are tried as of Friday in Dresden for this robbery in which another forty people still wanted by the police would have participated.

The passivity of the four security guards intrigued the investigators at first, but for now there are no incriminating elements against them.

– 49 carats –

Arrested in November 2020 in Berlin after months of analyzing video recordings and DNA samples, the suspects belonged to a criminal gang of Lebanese origin that is very active in Germany, known as the “Remo clan”.

The security device around the court will be reinforced during the process. The defendants risk up to ten years in prison.

On November 25, 2019, the robbers entered the museum of this baroque city in eastern Germany, nicknamed the “Florence of the Elbe”, at dawn. Inside, they roamed freely for eight minutes.

The museum, one of the oldest in Europe, houses an incomparable collection of treasures, made up of gold and silver work, precious stones, porcelain, ivory or amber sculptures, bronzes and vessels with precious stones.

The thieves did not hesitate to set fire to an electrical terminal at 05:00 to deactivate the museum’s alarms and the streetlights in the area.

Then they entered the museum through a barred window, located in a blind spot of the video surveillance, whose bars had been sawed off days before and discreetly replaced until the day of the robbery.

When the police arrived, the thieves had already disappeared with the loot after hacking open the glass cases containing jewels and diamonds in the strong chamber of Augustus the Strong, Prince of Saxony and King of Poland in the 18th century.

They took a dozen 18th-century ornaments, with jewels and precious stones, several “hundreds” of diamonds, including a 49-carat diamond incorporated into a “shoulder pad,” according to the police.

A sword with nine large diamonds and 770 smaller ones embedded in its hilt was also stolen.

– “Priceless” value –

The stolen pieces have “inestimable” and impossible to encrypt historical and cultural value, according to the museum.

The Minister of Culture of the Saxony region, Barbara Klepsch, lamented after the crime “an immense damage to world culture.”

So far no pieces have been recovered despite the significant rewards promised.

“We do everything that is humanly possible to find them,” the Dresden prosecutor’s office said. “Until now, no indication of destruction or sale has been discovered,” Klepsch said.

The “Remo clan”, a large Kurdish family of Lebanese origin, is well known to the police and justice for cases of violence, drug trafficking and robberies.

Deep-rooted in Berlin’s popular and bohemian neighborhood Neukölln, the “clan” is already implicated in the theft of a giant 100-kilo gold piece, worth approximately 3.75 million euros ($4.18 million). ), extracted in 2017 from the Bode-Museum of the capital and probably melted down.

Justice has issued several sentences for this event, including against two defendants in Dresden.

The “Remo clan” is part of the family groups that reign in the underground Berlin, structured as criminal organizations with a lot of power and fortune, experts point out.


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