9 minutes. That’s how long it took thieves to take away a historic gold coin at a Celtic-Roman museum in southern Germany, worth more than 1.6 million euros. The theft may be the work of organized crime, and an international investigation is underway.
A robbery at the Kerten-Roemer Museum in Manching, Bavaria, southern Germany, was discovered yesterday morning. Employees found broken glass on the floor and determined that a valuable Celtic gold collection was missing from the glass display.
According to the Bavarian judicial police, the perpetrators are meticulously preparing their actions. At 1:17 a.m. Tuesday night, the cable in the communications operator’s cabin near the museum went down. The museum’s security system was able to record that the door was forced open at 1:26 am. Communication networks were down, so the alarm system did not work. At 1:35 am, the building was emptied.
It was during those nine minutes that the assailant smashed the glass display and stole Celtic gold. The second display was also cracked and three large coins were missing from it. In total he had 483 Celtic coins stolen along with raw gold bars. These objects were discovered in 1999 during excavations near Mancin.
“Like losing an old friend”
Rupert Gebhardt, director of the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Munich, estimates the value of the loot at around 1.6 million euros. The gold coin dates from around 100 BC. They were made of gold from the Bohemian River and were in bags buried under the foundations of buildings. According to Gebhardt, it was probably the booty of a Celtic chief.
This finding indicates that the Celtic settlement of Manchin was related to other settlements in Europe. It’s important for local communities and for archaeologists across Europe, says Gebhardt. “I feel like I’m losing an old friend.”
According to Bavaria’s Minister of Science and Arts, Markus Blum, the theft was the work of experts. “Obviously, it’s not just about walking into a museum and taking this treasure with you,” he says. “It’s highly secure, so I suspect it’s dealing with organized crime.”
It may have something to do with previous art thefts in Germany. In 2017, he had 100 kilograms of gold coins stolen from him in Berlin, and in 2019, a spectacular robbery in Dresden saw thieves steal precious jewels, caught on surveillance cameras. Both belong to Berlin criminal families.
“I don’t know if these thefts are related,” said Guido Rimmer of the Bavarian Judicial Police. “So much: we are in touch with our colleagues and are exploring all possibilities”. Investigations are ongoing in several countries and also involve the international police service Interpol and the European police service Europol. doing.
worst case scenario
The museum hopes that the coin will remain in its original state and that it will reappear sooner or later. They are hard to sell because they are well documented. “The worst case scenario where the coin melts would be a big loss,” says Rupert Gebhardt.