It’s been over three months since Dresden’s Grünes Gewölbe, also known as the Green Vault, was broken into and robbed of dozens of pieces of priceless jewelry. The heist is the largest such robbery since World War II and investigations have been ongoing. Now, though, German prosecutors have launched investigations concerning four security guards from Dresden’s Royal Palace who may have played a role in the heist.
Two security guards, who were on patrol during the early hours of November 25th, when the robbery occurred, have become part of investigations as potential accomplices. According to investigators, the security guards on duty didn’t ‘react adequately’ during and in the immediate aftermath of the burglary. This allowed the perpetrators to enter through a smashed window, cut through protective metal grating and bust display case windows taking an estimated €1 billion in jewels.
A third guard for the Royal Palace, who was arrested shortly after the heist on November 29th, is under investigation for having potentially helped thieves. This guard is suspected of having leaked floorplans of the Green Vault’s ten rooms as well as information regarding the museum’s security to the robbers having assisted their actions. Meanwhile, yet another security guard is under suspicion of having aided and abetted the robbers by tampering with the museum’s alarm system.
Further to the investigation, police has learned more information regarding the robbers’ getaway car: a 2006 Audi S6. The car was found, burned out, in a parking lot nearby the Green Vault. In August 2019, the car was purchased by a man from a Magdeburg private seller. Thought to be about 25 years old, the police have released a sketch of this man in the hopes of finding more information in relation to the heist.
Home to one of Europe’s largest collections of artworks and jewelry, Dresden’s Green Vault contains around 3,000 items, many of which, and many of those that were stolen, are considered to be priceless. Following the recent robbery, a main concern is that the items that were stolen might be dismantled for their parts, which would still be worth millions on their own.
The heist occurred in the early morning after a small fire broke out in the museum’s electrical distribution centre. This allowed for the museum’s alarm system to malfunction, giving the thieves easier access to the Green Vault. They proceeded to smash display cases and take a number of diamond and gem-encrusted items, mostly from the 18th century, including works by court jewelers Jean Jacques Pallard and Christian August Globig. A surveillance camera caught the thieves in action but to date, none of the items have been recovered.
Given the nature of and circumstances around the heist, investigators have considered the possibility of an inside job since the start. There are seven people currently suspected of having been involved with the heist.
As investigations continue into the whereabouts of the masterpieces stolen, police still ask that anyone with information on the robbery to come forward. An award of €500,000 is being offered for those who come forward with information that proves to be helpful. Last month, there were rumours that the stolen jewels were available on the dark web. In a statement to The Guardian, Michael Kretschmer, leader of Saxony, said ‘not only has the gallery been robbed, but also the Saxonian people.’