German mega-heist suspects grabbed

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 18 Nov 2020

German police yesterday arrested three suspects and raided properties over a spectacular heist 12 months ago when more than a dozen diamond-encrusted items were taken from a museum in Dresden.

Investigators were searching 18 properties in Berlin, including 10 apartments plus garages and vehicles, in connection with what constituted one of the biggest art grabs in modern history.

The main target was the so-called "Remmo clan," a family of Arab origin and notorious for ties to organized crime whose members were in February convicted in another high-profile museum raid in Berlin.

The three held are German citizens, and police are also hunting Abdul Majed Remmo and Mohammed Remmo, both 21. All five are accused of robbery plus arson.

The robbers made a brazen raid on the Green Vault museum in Dresden's Royal Palace on November 25.

Having initiated a partial power cut and broken in through a window, they snatched 17th-century jewelry from the collection of Saxon ruler August the Strong.

Items stolen included a sword whose hilt is encrusted with nine large and 770 smaller diamonds and a shoulderpiece that bears the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond.

The director of Dresden's state art collection refused to put a value on the stolen items, calling them "priceless."

Around 1,600 officers were deployed in yesterday's raids and arrests, with reinforcements called in from across Germany.

The Remmos had been implicated in another high-profile museum robbery in the heart of Berlin when a 100-kilogram gold coin was stolen. Two out of three of the suspects convicted in February in that case belonged to the family.

But police have not found any trace of the Canadian coin since the late-night heist in March 2017 from the Bode Museum, close to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Berlin apartment.

The "Big Maple Leaf," one of five huge coins minted in 2007, is the world's second-largest gold coin after the one-tonne Australian Kangaroo issued in 2012.

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