Police in the German capital, Berlin, have arrested three people suspected of taking part in the theft of priceless treasures from a museum in the eastern city of Dresden last year, prosecutors said on Tuesday. The three people arrested were said to be German citizens; prosecutors indicated they were confident of the suspects’ involvement, saying they were “strongly” suspected. Thieves broke into Dresden’s Grünes Gewölbe, known as the Green Vault in English, on November 25, 2019, stealing three priceless sets of 18th-century jewelry within minutes. They then fled in a car that they later torched. The arrests came during a large-scale police raid of 18 properties, garages and vehicles, with a focus on the Berlin district of Neukölln. the prosecutors said. More than 1,600 police officers from across Germany were involved in the raid. Police said the operation could cause disruption of traffic in the entire city area.
The museum, situated in Dresden Castle, houses one of Europe’s biggest treasure collections. It was founded between 1723 and 1729 by Augustus the Strong to publicly display his collection of treasures, making it one of the world’s oldest museums. The museum, which is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, has some 3,000 pieces on display. It was damaged during World War II, and at the end of the war the collection was taken to the Soviet Union and not returned to Dresden until 1958. The jewelry stolen during the heist included the famous 49-carat Dresden White Diamond.