Five men convicted over €100 million Dresden jewel heist
Five men have been found guilty of stealing €100 million worth of jewels from a Dresden museum in a sensational 2019 heist.
Dresden’s state court on Tuesday convicted five men - aged 24 to 29 - over the theft.
They were each handed prison sentences of between four years and four months, and six years and three months, German news agency dpa reported. One defendant was acquitted.
They were convicted of particularly aggravated arson in combination with dangerous bodily injury, theft with weapons, damage to property and intentional arson.
The men laid a fire just before the break-in, at around 5am, to cut the power supply to street lights outside the museum. CCTV inside the building then captured the hooded thieves smashing open a cabinet and stealing the jewellery before they escaped in a getaway car.
The car was then set alight in a nearby garage before the men fled to Berlin. They were caught several months later during police raids in the German capital.
Following the heist, Saxon’s interior minister Rolan Woeller said: “This is a bitter day for the cultural heritage of Saxony.”
He said the thieves “stole cultural treasures of immeasurable worth - that is not only the material worth but also the intangible worth to the state of Saxony, which is impossible to estimate.”
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. 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.
Dresden’s historic Grünes Gewölbe - translated as “Green Vault” - is one of the world’s oldest museums and houses Europe’s largest collection of treasures.
Situated inside the Royal Palace, 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.