4 held over theft of 100kg gold coin from museum

  • 4 held over theft of 100kg gold coin from museum

4 held over theft of 100kg gold coin from museum

German special police commandos arrested several people during raids in Berlin yesterday over the robbery of a 100kg gold coin from the city's Bode Museum in March.

He said searches of the apartments were still continuing, but so far the coin hadn't been found. Experts think the coin may have been melted down to cash in on the gold, Wenzel added. The museum, with more than 500,000 items, is home to one of the world's largest coin collections.

The giant coin was stolen from Berlin's Bode Museum, located near German Chancellor Angela Merkel's flat.

The Canadian coin, named "Big Maple Leaf", which bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II, is made out of pure gold with a material value of about $4 million.

The arrests follow last week's release of CCTV footage showing hooded suspects averting their faces as they walked along an otherwise deserted train station platform.

According to the police, at least two burglars broke into the museum at night, using a ladder to climb to a window from elevated railway tracks. "The fact that the police was able to find evidence makes us happy and also eliminates our general mistrust against museum staff", he said.

Police also searched a jewelry store in the neighbourhood. It has a $1 million face value and is believed be worth around €3.75 million. The thieves stole the coin without being noticed by security guards inside.

It was probably damaged when the thieves dropped it twice - once onto rail tracks that pass the museum and cross the Spree river, and again in Monbijou park on the opposite river bank, from where they sped off in a vehicle.

Mr. Steltner said the coin had quite likely been divided into parts and sold within Germany, though he said it was possible the coin had been taken out of the country intact. It was loaned to the Bode Museum in December 2010. Authorities were perplexed how it was stolen as the weight of the coin is as much as a refrigerator's.

"It is 100 kilos, made by the Canadian Mint, and is of high purity", Bernhard Weisser, director of the museum's coin department, said in an interview.