A 2019 museum break-in, which saw the theft of 21 pieces of 18th century baroque jewellery containing more than 4300 diamonds, has led to the arrest of six men in Germany.
The suspects, all of whom are German nationals aged 22 to 27, are accused of organized robbery and arson, the Associated Press reports.
The crime occurred at the Green Vault, one of the world’s oldest museums, which is located in Dresden, Germany. The space was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Saxony ruler, Augustus the Strong, comprised of around 4000 objects of gold, precious stones, and other materials.
Prosecutors allege the arrested suspects laid a fire just before the break-in on Nov. 25, 2019, cutting the power supply for streetlights outside the museum. Those charged are also accused of setting fire to a car in a nearby garage before fleeing to Berlin.
While considered priceless due to their historic significance, the stolen pieces have a total insured value of at least $170 million (113.8 million euros), the Associated Press reports.
Searches so far have not yielded the missing jewellery. The accused have not responded to the accusations against them, police say.
Two of the suspects are already serving sentences for the 2017 theft of a 100-kg (220-lb) Canadian gold coin (dubbed the ‘Big Maple Leaf’) from Berlin’s Bode Museum, the Associated Press says. The coin, which has an estimated value of $5.6 million (3.75 million euros), has not been recovered.