Dresden Green Vault: Fourth suspect arrested over German diamond heist

  • Published
Media caption,

Security camera footage showed figures with torches and tools smashing one of the cabinets

German police have arrested one of the fugitive twin brothers wanted in connection with a dramatic heist that targeted one of Europe's largest treasure collections.

Officials said 21-year-old Mohammed Remmo was arrested in Berlin.

He is the fourth suspect to be detained over last year's heist at Dresden's Green Vault museum.

The suspects are accused of stealing more than a dozen diamond-encrusted items.

Officials said it was impossible to value the items, simply calling them "priceless".

Saxony's ruler, Augustus the Strong, created the collection in 1723 in what is one of the world's oldest museums.

Police said they arrested Mr Remmo in the German capital on Monday night, and that he was being brought to the eastern city of Dresden on Tuesday.

The search for his twin brother, Abdul Majed Remmo, was continuing with "high intensity", they said.

The brothers were being sought internationally after evading arrest in a major police operation last month that saw three other suspects detained.

All five are accused of "serious gang robbery and two counts of arson", officials say.

Police say the suspects are members of a notorious criminal family network based in Berlin.

Earlier this year, members of the Remmo family were convicted over another heist - the theft of a 100kg (220lb) solid-gold coin from the German capital's Bode Museum in 2017.

What do we know about the Green Vault heist?

On 25 November last year, in the early hours of the morning, thieves removed part of an iron grille on a ground-floor window and then smashed the glass to enter the museum.

They had earlier managed to partially cut power to the building, which may have disabled the alarm system, local media report. They are believed to have set a fire at a nearby electrical junction box.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The Green Vault is a world-famous treasure collection

Once in the building, one of the robbers broke into a display case with an axe, while another used various tools to gain access to another cabinet.

Police suspect that a car found burning in Dresden later that day may have been the getaway vehicle used by the burglars.

Three jewellery sets are believed to have been stolen from the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe), reportedly including rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

Other items that were stolen included a diamond-encrusted sword and a shoulder-piece containing a famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond.

Investigators had offered a reward of up to €500,000 ($590,000; £450,000) for information leading to the suspects' arrest.

The items stolen from the Green Vault have not been recovered. Experts fear they have been broken up and will never be found.

What is the Green Vault?

The collection is housed in eight ornate rooms in the Residenzschloss - a former royal palace.

Three rooms were destroyed by Allied bombing in World War Two, but after the war, the museum was restored to its previous glory.

Image source, Gruenes-Gewoelbe
Image caption,
The Green Vault houses treasured items such as this 16th Century Indian mother-of-pearl box

It is called the Green Vault because some rooms were decorated with malachite-green paint.

The most valuable items are kept in the palace's historic section on the ground floor.

The collection houses about 3,000 items of jewellery and other treasures decorated with gold, silver, ivory and pearl. They include a 648-carat sapphire - a royal gift from Russian Tsar Peter the Great.

Augustus the Strong served as Elector of Saxony (a German prince entitled to take part in the election of the emperor) and later king of Poland.