German court sentences five to prison for stealing jewelry worth $100 million


A German court on Tuesday convicted five men of stealing 18th-century jewelery worth more than $100 million from a Dresden museum in 2019.

They were sentenced to prison terms of between four years and four months and six years and three months, German news agency dpa reported. One defendant was acquitted.

The Dresden state court ruled that the five men, aged 24 to 29, were responsible for the break-in at the Green Vault Museum in the eastern German city on November 25, 2019 and the theft of 21 pieces of jewelry that They contained more than 4,300 diamonds. , with a total insured value of at least 113.8 million euros (129 million dollars).

Authorities said at the time that the items taken included a large diamond brooch and a diamond epaulette.

They were convicted of specially aggravated arson in combination with dangerous bodily injury, robbery with a weapon, property damage, and arson.

The men set a fire just before the raid to cut off power to street lights outside the museum, also setting fire to a car in a nearby garage before fleeing to Berlin. They were captured several months later in raids in Berlin.

Defendants sit at the Higher Regional Court in Dresden, eastern Germany, on May 16, 2023, before a hearing in the trial for a jewelery theft at the Green Vault (Gruenes Gewoelbe) museum in the Royal Palace of Dresden in November 2019.
The court convicted five members of a criminal gang for stealing priceless 18th-century jewelery from the museum and handed down sentences of up to six years in prison.Sebastian Kahnert / AFP – Getty Images

In January, there was a plea deal between the defense, the prosecution and the court after most of the stolen jewelry was returned.

The plea agreement had been accepted by four defendants, who later admitted their involvement in the crime through their lawyers. The fifth defendant also confessed, but only for obtaining objects such as the axes with which he pierced the museum display case, reported dpa.

The state of Saxony, where Dresden is located, had claimed damages of almost 89 million euros in court, for the pieces returned damaged, for those that are still missing and for the repair of the destroyed showcases and the museum building.

The Green Vault is one of the oldest museums in the world. It was established in 1723 and contains the treasure of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, which comprises around 4,000 objects made of gold, precious stones and other materials.

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