5 Thieves Are Sentenced to Prison for a $123 Million Jewel Heist in Germany

The band of thieves behind one of the jewelry world’s most brazen heists has finally been brought to justice.

In November 2019, the six men made headlines for breaking into Dresden, Germany’s renowned Grünes Gewölbe museum, known in English as the Green Vault, and stealing what police at the time estimated to be €1 billion worth of baubles set with diamonds. At their trial, which started in January 2022, prosecutors accused the men of taking 21 artifacts adorned with more than 4,300 of the precious gems—a haul worth some $123 million. Now, five of the group have been sentenced to time behind bars.

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The defendants, all of whom are members of Berlin’s infamous Remmo crime organization, received relatively light sentences after confessing to parts of their involvement in the robbery, and for returning some of the items taken. One of the main perpetrators, Rabieh Remmo, is expected to serve six years and two months behind bars, according to the chief prosecutor. Wissam Remmo, an accomplice, received six years and three months, while Bashir Remmo will serve five years and ten months. Two other defendants will serve time as well, with the first sentenced to four years and four months in prison under the Juvenile Criminal Code. A fifth accomplice has been sentenced to five years in juvenile detention, claiming he only participated in obtaining tools for the heist. A sixth defendant was acquitted.

Defendant Abdul Majed R. (R, hidden) is led in handcuffs by judicial officers into the courtroom of the Higher Regional Court in Dresden, eastern Germany on March 20, 2023 prior to a hearing in the trial over a jewellery heist on the Green Vault (Gruenes Gewoelbe) museum in Dresden's Royal Palace in November 2019. - Six members of a notorious criminal gang are on trial in Germany over the spectacular heist in which 18th-century jewels were snatched from the state museum in Dresden. They are accused of gang robbery and arson after the brazen night raid on the Green Vault museum on November 25, 2019. In a previous hearing, three members of the gang had confessed to stealing the jewels. (Photo by JENS SCHLUETER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JENS SCHLUETER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Defendant Abdul Majed R. (R, hidden) is led in handcuffs by judicial officers into the courtroom of the Higher Regional Court in Dresden, eastern Germany on March 20, 2023.

Last December, police also suggested that there may have been a seventh participant in the heist. “Based on the evaluation of recordings from the video surveillance system in the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe, there is initial suspicion that the person pictured helped prepare the burglary by spying on the scene of the crime between 10:03 a.m. and 12:21 p.m. on the day before the crime and making the knowledge gained available to those directly involved in the crime.”

Footage of the crime, released by Saxony Police, shows two of the thieves moving through the museum with flashlights. One of the robbers can be seen using an ax to break a vitrine’s glass; after nine strikes, the two were able to grab Inside, bowls carved out of crystal could be found alongside jeweled figurines and goblets crafted from gilded ostrich eggs. Fortunately for the museum, its most famous piece—a 41-carat green diamond known as the Dresden Green—was on loan to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time.

Most of the stolen artifacts were made during the reign of Frederick Augustus III, the last Elector of Saxony. He was later known as Frederick Augustus I, the first King of Saxony. Two of the missing items include a 1780s hat clasp with 15 large diamonds and over 100 small diamonds, as well as a 38-inch long sword and sheath set with more than 800 diamonds in total. Only some of the artifacts have been recovered; Marion Ackermann, director of Dresden’s State Art Collection, says their high value doesn’t even begin to reflect their “incalculable” importance.

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