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Germany investigates links between theft of Celtic gold coins and similar crimes

German police are investigating links between the brazen theft of hundreds of Celtic gold coins this week and other spectacular thefts from museums across the country.

483 pieces were stolen from a museum in the southern city of Manching early Tuesday morning, police said. According to the available data, nine minutes was enough for the thieves to break into the museum and flee with the loot.

Officials suspect that coins with a market value of around 1.6 million euros, the thefts are hidden by a group of organized criminals.

According to police, nearby internet cables were cut shortly before the break-in. This led to widespread internet outages and an alarm that did not go off when the doors to the museum were breached.

This is the latest theft of its kind – in 2017 a huge gold coin was stolen from a museum in Berlin, and in 2019 thieves got away with 21 jewels and other valuables from the Green Vault museum in Dresden.

“Of course we are in contact with our colleagues in Berlin and Dresden,” Guido Limmer, deputy head of the Southern Bavarian Criminal Police, told a news conference.

According to him, “there are possible similarities” between this flight and previous flights. However, Mr Limmer warned that “we cannot yet say if there are any links”.

Markus Blume, the Bavarian minister of science and the arts, suspects that it was an organized crime by professionals.

“Obviously you can’t just walk into a museum like this and walk away with this treasure,” he told local broadcaster BR.

“The museum has a high level of security, so it can be assumed that we are dealing with organized crime,” he added.

The stolen coins, which were kept at the Celtic and Roman Museum, are the greatest Celtic gold discovery of the 20th century.

According to Rupert Gebhard of the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection, the Celtic coins were discovered in 1999 during the excavation of a settlement near present-day Manching and date back to around 100 BC. Before Jesus Christ.

During the press conference, Mr Gebhard said that these pieces are considered “a real gem” by the European archaeological community.

He also said it was unclear what the thieves were planning to do with the coins, but added: “Melting them down would be the worst option, it would be a total loss for us.”

Source: The Delfi

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