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Germany Crime: Art robbery in Dresden

Germany Crime: Art robbery in Dresden
   Reading time: 5 Minutes

It seems like in the movies, but it is bitter reality. Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at 4:59 a.m. local time, the Dresden police received an emergency call that the Dresden Green Vault had been broken into. Unnoticed, the thieves entered the museum and stole valuable exhibits. How could this happen?

This burglary raises many questions and causes great confusion and massive security gaps. Why were none of the affected pieces insured? How did the burglars manage to cripple the entire security system? Why was there no emergency supply?

In any case, the fact is, and this is very frightening, that the stolen goods are not saleable for the perpetrators! They are practically left with two options.

  1. the stolen goods are now resting in a client’s safe
  2. according to art insurer Stephan Zilkens, this is the only option: “[…] they will take their loot apart. [They will] re-cut the stones so that the antique cut is no longer recognizable. Only then can they sell them on the worldwide network of jewelers” (Oliver Klein, 11/26/2019, https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/kunstraub-im-gruenen-gewoelbe-die-wichtigsten-fragen-100.html , last accessed: 11/26/2019)

What is also very frightening is the fact that the loot is not insured. How can it be that such valuable good was not insured from the beginning? According to Stephan Zilkens, this is common, and in fact in every public museum. For the simple reason that insurance would not pay off. Instead, the state is liable for the exhibits. (Oliver Klein, Nov. 26, 2019, https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/kunstraub-im-gruenen-gewoelbe-die-wichtigsten-fragen-100.html , last accessed Nov. 26, 2019).

In the case of loans, however, it is different. If a museum lends out one of its exhibits, it is automatically insured for that period. But as soon as it is returned to its original place, the insurance is no longer valid. (Oliver Klein, Nov. 26, 2019, https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/kunstraub-im-gruenen-gewoelbe-die-wichtigsten-fragen-100.html , last accessed Nov. 26, 2019).

How high the financial damage is, can not yet be said.
Some experts calculate the loss in the billions.

General Director Mario Ackermann, however, says that the disaster cannot be
sums of money and calls this event a “cultural and historical
event as a “cultural and historical catastrophe” (Oliver Klein, Nov. 26).
(Oliver Klein, Nov. 26, 2019, https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/kunstraub-im-gruenen-gewoelbe-die-wichtigsten-fragen-100.html , last accessed: 11/26/2019)

How could this collapse go so unnoticed?

At the same time, a fire started near the Green Vault, presumably the museum’s power box (our guess!!), causing a power outage and paralyzing the museum’s entire security system. As the authorities were now busy extinguishing the fire for the time being, the perpetrators were able to enter the museum unnoticed with the help of an axe, and within a few minutes they captured their loot and fled. The getaway car was tracked throughout the city…a little later, a burning vehicle was found in an underground parking garage, which matched the description of the getaway car. The perpetrators are still on the run.

Nothing is known about the perpetrators so far, only that at least two people were involved in the theft. Fortunately, the corresponding surveillance camera was still working, so that the crime was recorded and can now lead to the perpetrators, but so far nothing is known.

The German police has not seen anything like the crime on this Monday for a long time. Due to this, they call this event one of the most spectacular burglaries of the past decades. (Rebecca Röhrich, Nov. 26, 2019, https://www.op-online.de/deutschland/kunstraub-gruenen-gewoelbe-dresden-ausmass-schadens-noch-unklar-zr-13245997.html , last accessed Nov. 26, 2019)

Since the perpetrators are still on the run and it is still completely unclear how and if they can be caught, one assumes a final loss. And this loss does not only affect Dresden and Saxony, but represents a loss for all mankind.

Authorities and experts agree: This is a highly professional burglary
highly professional burglary, the perpetrators relied on comprehensive
extensive preparation and a high level of expertise.

In retrospect, everyone is asking whether, with even stricter
the burglary could have been prevented.

(Guido Bohsem, Nov. 26, 2019, https://www.swp.de/kunstraub-in-dresden-der-diebstahl-ist-ein-verlust-fuer-die-menschheit-ein-kommentar-von-guido-bohsem-40904886.html , last accessed 11/26/019)

Could it really have been prevented? The perpetrators were more than well prepared, took advantage of the security loopholes. If they had been stricter, it probably would have just taken more preparation time for so-and-so to implement the plan.

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