Deal for defendants in 2019 German museum jewelry heist

Jan 9, 2023, 6:45 PM | Updated: Jan 10, 2023, 9:21 am

BERLIN (AP) — Most of the defendants standing trial over a spectacular 2019 break-in at Dresden’s Green Vault museum, in which 18th-century treasures were stolen, have reached a deal that would get them reduced punishment in exchange for confessions and the return of much of the haul, a judge said Tuesday.

Tuesday’s development came after German authorities announced in mid-December that they had recovered a significant part of the stolen treasures in Berlin. They said at the time that the find was preceded by exploratory talks on a possible agreement that would include the return of stolen items.

In the first court session since then, presiding Judge Andreas Ziegel said that four of the six defendants have agreed to the proposed deal with prosecutors and the Dresden state court and plan to make statements when the trial resumes on Jan. 17, German news agency dpa reported. A fifth defendant wants to make a decision before then. The sixth denies involvement, pointing to an alibi.

Ziegel said the initiative to hand back jewelry that is still to hand came from the oldest of the defendants, a 29-year-old. However, parts of the haul were missing and several pieces incomplete or damaged.

The court will want to see “credible” confessions in which the defendants give concrete details of the planning and execution of the heist and their own contributions, the judge said. The deal could lead to reduced sentences and possibly their conditional release.

The six men went on trial in January, accused of gang robbery and arson over the Nov. 25, 2019 heist. The German nationals were accused of stealing jewelry with a total insured value of at least 113.8 million euros ($122 million).

Officials said at the time that the items taken included a large diamond brooch and a diamond epaulette. The treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony was established in 1723 and contains around 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials on display in Dresden’s Royal Palace.

Prosecutors have said that the suspects lit a fire just before the break-in to cut the power supply for street lights outside the museum, and also set fire to a car in a nearby garage before fleeing to Berlin.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

6 hours ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

20 hours ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

1 day ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

2 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

7 days ago

boeing nasa...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays

Boeing launched astronauts for the first time Wednesday, belatedly joining SpaceX as a second taxi service for NASA.

7 days ago

Deal for defendants in 2019 German museum jewelry heist