German police recover jewels taken in 2019 Green Vault heist

Treasures found in Berlin are a 'considerable part' of missing loot, police say

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 27, 2019 shows policemen leaving the Residenzschloss Royal Palace that houses the historic Green Vault (Gruenes Gewoelbe) in Dresden, eastern Germany, days after a spectacular heist. German police on December 14, 2020 arrested a fourth suspect man over the spectacular heist in which more than a dozen diamond-encrusted items were snatched from the Green Vault state museum in Dresden. - Germany OUT
 / AFP / dpa / Robert Michael
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German police announced on Saturday they had recovered jewellery stolen from a museum three years ago.

The 31 items found make up a “considerable part” of the loot stolen from Dresden's Green Vault in November 2019, police said.

They include one of the most prized missing items, an 18th-century medal from Poland's Order of the White Eagle.

Treasures including a shoulder piece encrusted with the Dresden White Diamond are still missing.

The stolen goods were found overnight in Berlin after negotiations with defence lawyers, police said.

They said they could reveal no more until the trial of the suspected burglars resumes on Tuesday.

Six members of the Remmo crime clan are accused of staging the break-in.

An empty display case from which jewels were stolen from the Green Vault. AFP

It is alleged they cut power to the museum before breaking in, smashing a display case with an axe and escaping in a car which they then set on fire.

The stolen jewels were mainly from the 18th century and belonged to the Saxony electors Augustus the Strong and Augustus III.

Their insurance value was at least €114 million ($120.8m), while the museum described them as historically and culturally priceless.

The recovered items were returned to Dresden under guard from special forces and their condition will now be examined.

Green Vault break-in — in pictures

Barbara Klepsch, culture minister for the state of Saxony, said she hoped that “the wound caused by the break-in can soon be closed”.

“It shows that even three years after this painful burglary, it's worth keeping up hope and following every possible lead,” she said.

An investigation into four museum guards was closed last month after no contacts between them and the suspects could be established.

Police separately said they had arrested a Dutchman on suspicion of duping authorities into giving him €40,000 ($42,380) to recover some of the loot.

The man had claimed he could buy back some of the items but ran away with the money, it was alleged.

Updated: December 17, 2022, 4:23 PM