German investigators have found much of the loot stolen from the Green Vault in Dresden three years ago, according to police and the prosecutor’s office.
Officials seized 31 individual items in Berlin on Friday night, police and prosecutor’s offices said on Saturday.
On November 25, 2019, two thieves broke into the Green Vault of Dresden Castle through a window and smashed a display case with an ax before escaping with valuable treasures dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The recovered pieces were taken to Dresden accompanied by members of the police special forces.
In the East German state capital of Saxony, they will first be examined forensically. Afterwards, experts from the Dresden State Art Collections will examine its condition and authenticity.
According to the investigators, the discovery of the valuable pieces was preceded by interviews with the lawyers of the alleged burglars.
Since the beginning of the year, the six suspects have been on trial in Dresden for aggravated gang theft and arson.
Saxon premier Michael Kretschmer thanked the police and judiciary for their “first-class work” after the discovery.
“Saxony says: thank you,” the conservative politician said on Saturday, continuing: “The precious works of art in the Green Vault belong to the cultural heritage of our country.”
Saxony’s Culture Minister Barbara Klepsch, also a Christian Democrat, praised the investigators’ work, saying on Saturday: “It shows that working for the restitution of looted treasures is worthwhile.”
“Now it remains to be seen what the experts will find when they inspect the pieces and what condition they are in,” Klepsch said.
He said he hoped the “wound” that had grown in the historic Green Vault would close soon.
“This shows that even three years after this painful collapse, it is worth not losing hope and pursuing all possible leads,” said Klepsch.
About 4,300 diamonds and other precious stones have been stolen from the East German city’s vault.
The loot had a total value of over 113 million euros ($119 million).