Almost one year exactly after a stunning sum of jewels were stolen from a collection of Baroque royal jewels in Dresden, Germany, three arrests have been made. German authorities announced the arrests Tuesday, in a case which captured the world’s attention.

The Dresden Heist

Dresden Jewels stolen

What is unusual about the Dresden heist isn’t solely the value of the jewels stolen. It’s remarkable because of the methods used to obtain them. When one thinks of a jewel heist, they picture lasers, computer hacking, and other high tech trickery. But in Dresden, the thieves relied on remarkably low-tech solutions which utterly baffled the security of the vault. The thefts took place in the Green Vault of Dresden’s royal palace. 

ArtNews shares, “The Green Vault, part of Dresden’s Staatliche Kunstsammlungen consortium, consists of 10 rooms with various glass-encased displays showing some 30,000 jewelry artifacts. The institution’s collection was amassed by Polish king August the Strong in the first half of the 18th century and opened to the public in 1723.”

Early on a Monday in November, the thieves set an electrical fire which shorted some of the museum’s security systems. They then entered a low, ground-floor window. From there, they easily reached the glass case which held the jewels, and shattered it with an ax. By the time the police arrived, the thieves were long gone. 

How Many Thieves Do Authorities Think Were Involved?

This week, three men were arrested, and two more are being sought. Authorities also investigated four security guards who failed to adequately respond to the incident. It is believed that an Arab crime family is involved, and one of the men was already sentenced in connection with another high-profile jewel heist. 

Per CBS News, “According to a spokesman for the Dresden police, the suspects in custody are German citizens with links to an Arab crime family, or clan, based in the German capital. Berlin’s Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel called the searches and arrests a great success and ‘a further signal to the clan scene.’

The Arab clan implicated in the heist is well known to the police and has been accused of other major crimes, including the 2017 theft of a 220-pound gold coin from the Berlin Bode Museum.

More than 1,600 police officers, including special forces from the federal government and seven states, took part in the large-scale operation. According to the public prosecutor’s office, a total of 18 properties in Berlin were searched, including 10 apartments, garages and vehicles.”

Will They Ever See the Jewels Again?

Dresden Heist

With every day that passes, hope fades that the jewels will be recovered. Although the pieces are unique and famous and would be hard to hawk on the black market, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Authorities are scrambling desperately to find them before the clock runs out, but after a year, the chance of recovery are slim to none. Perhaps the arrest of the remaining two suspects will shed some light on the location of the stolen goods.

Suspects were identified through video surveillance and forensic evidence gathered at the scene of the theft. 

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