Police arrest Abdul Majed Remmo over €1bn jewellery heist in Germany

Remmo caught in Berlin after international manhunt

Abdul Majed Remmo was arrested over the raid on the Green Vault museum in Dresden, Germany. EPA/Getty
Abdul Majed Remmo was arrested over the raid on the Green Vault museum in Dresden, Germany. EPA/Getty

Police arrested a fifth suspect in connection with a €1bn ($1.22bn) jewellery heist following an international manhunt.

Abdul Majed Remmo, 22, was arrested on Monday at a property in Berlin in connection with the theft of 18th-century jewels from a Dresden museum in 2019, which houses the royal crown jewels.

Late last year, police arrested his twin brother Mohamed and three others on suspicion of robbery and arson.

Twins Mohamed Remmo, left, and Abdul Majed Remmo, have been arrested in connection with a robbery in the Green Vault in Dresden. Dresden Police handout.
Twins Mohamed Remmo, left, and Abdul Majed Remmo, have been arrested in connection with a robbery in the Green Vault in Dresden. Dresden Police handout.

They are accused of breaking into Dresden’s Green Vault Museum in November 2019 and stealing a large diamond brooch, a diamond epaulette, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and a jewel-encrusted sabre.

None of the missing treasure has been retrieved, despite more than 12 locations being searched.

One of the world’s oldest museums, the Green Vault was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, which comprises more than 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials.

The collection was brought together in the 18th century by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and later the King of Poland, who commissioned ever more brilliant jewellery as part of his rivalry with France's King Louis XIV.

Its nine rooms house the crown jewels, artworks dating back to the Middle Ages, bronze statues, gilded coats of arms and silverware.

The Jewel Garnitures constitute the largest collection of jewels in Europe and represented the monarchs' claim of absolute power.

Three of there were stolen in 2019.

It was described as the biggest art heist in modern history, with the stolen jewels estimated to be worth up to $1bn.

One of its best known treasures – the 41-carat Dresden Green Diamond – was away on loan at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time of the break-in.

Police launched an international search for Mr Remmo five months ago.

The stolen large breast loop of Dresden's Treasury Green Vault in Dresden. EPA
The stolen large breast loop of Dresden's Treasury Green Vault in Dresden. EPA

Relatives of the twins were convicted last year of a similar heist involving the theft of a 100-kilogram Canadian gold coin called the Big Maple Leaf from Bode Museum in Berlin in 2017.

The coin, with an estimated value of €3.75 million, has not been recovered.

Authorities believe it was likely cut up into smaller pieces and sold.

Ahmed and Wissam Remmo, 18 and 20 when the crime was committed, were sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

In 2017, prosecutors linked the Remmo gang to about 1,000 crimes.

The clan has up to 1,000 members drawn from 13 families spread around Germany.

The Remmo family are from a Mhallami group, part of the Arab minority in Turkey, who moved to Lebanon and then Germany during the civil war.

In 2014, a group raided a Sparkasse bank branch in the Berlin district of Mariendorf, opened dozens of security deposit boxes and escaped with jewellery and cash. To cover their tracks, the raiders blew up the bank on the ground floor of an apartment block.

A member of the Remmo gang, Toufic injured himself while escaping and was later identified from blood found at the scene.

In 2015, he was sentenced to eight years in jail for the heist that was estimated to have netted the trio nearly €10m.

Updated: May 18, 2021 04:18 PM

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