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Crime

Sweden charges man ‘for stealing two royal crowns and an orb worth US$7.2 million’

  • Police believe two men stole artefacts worth US$7.2 million dating back to 1611
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 11:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2019, 2:48am

A man was charged on Thursday with stealing 65 million kronor (US$7.2 million) worth of Swedish royal treasure including a jewelled crown from a cathedral where they were on display.

Two crowns and an orb used for the funerals of King Karl IX and Queen Kristina haven’t been recovered, national police investigator Filippo Bassini said.

Bassini said Thursday that officials believed two men stole the artefacts, dating back to 1611 and made for the royals’ funerals, from the Gothic-style Strangnas Cathedral, a red-brick church built between 1291 and 1340 west of the capital. The second man has been detained but has not been charged.

“We cannot exclude that the objects have left Sweden,” Bassini said. National police assisted local police in the investigation and the theft has been logged at Interpol, which enables an international search.

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The 22-year-old suspect, who wasn’t named, was found thanks to DNA found at the crime scene and on a bicycle used as part of the getaway after the theft. He has denied being part of the theft, prosecutor Isabelle Bjursten told a news conference.

She said blood was found on an object they believe the thieves were trying to steal, adding prosecutors believed the heist was planned.

We cannot exclude that the objects have left Sweden
Filippo Bassini, national police

The items were stolen on July 31 from an alarmed display after the thieves had smashed the glass. They fled first on bicycles and then on a motorboat via the vast system of lakes west of Stockholm.

The stolen artefacts are so-called funeral regalia, which are placed inside or on top of a coffin to symbolise a deceased royal’s identity and social ranking.

While some funeral regalia are kept in the cathedrals of Strangnas, Uppsala and Vasteras, the vast majority of Sweden’s crown jewels are in vaults under the Royal Castle in Stockholm.