Thieves steal Swedish royal jewels, escape by speedboat

It happened at a medieval cathedral in Strangnas, west of the capital of Stockholm

A discarded bicycle near the scene of a robbery at the Strangnas Cathedral, in Strangnas, Sweden. (Pontus Stenberg/TT News Agency via AP)

Thieves in Sweden walked into a small town’s medieval cathedral in broad daylight and stole priceless crown jewels dating back to the early 1600s before escaping by speedboat, police said Wednesday.

Two men vanished after the noon heist Tuesday into a vast patchwork of lakes around Strangnas, 60 kilometres west of the capital of Stockholm, police said.

The thieves snatched two gold crowns and an orb made for King Karl IX and Queen Kristina in the daring robbery. One of the crowns is encrusted with precious stones. The stolen items were on display at an exhibition in the cathedral, and visitors were inside at the time.

“The alarm went off when the burglars smashed the security glass and stole the artifacts,” Catharina Frojd, a spokeswoman for the 14th-century Strangnas cathedral, told The Associated Press.

The church wrote on its website that the stolen items were kept “in accordance with the prevailing safety regulations in locked and alarmed displays in the cathedral.” It gave no further details.

Police sent out a helicopter and boat to hunt for the thieves but found nothing. Authorities said no one was hurt in the robbery, but didn’t provide further details.

READ MORE: $73,000 in stolen Chilliwack jewelry returned

Tom Rowell, a visitor who was eating lunch outside, said he saw two men running from the cathedral toward a small nearby jetty where a motorboat was moored.

“The two men hurriedly jumped on board and it sped off,” Rowell said, adding that they “appeared non-Nordic.” He didn’t elaborate.

The men appeared to have escaped using two black bicycles — which they likely stole ahead of the heist — to race to the waiting boat, said police spokesman Stefan Dangardt.

It was not immediately clear if there was a driver waiting in the speedboat for the thieves.

On Wednesday, divers were looking for clues in and along the shores of Lake Malaren, Sweden’s third-largest freshwater lake. Police said the thieves could have fled further on jet skis, adding it was only a theory.

While the items are of great historic and cultural value, police expressed doubt whether the burglary would bring the perpetrators financial gain.

The stolen items are “impossible to sell” because of their uniqueness and high visibility, Maria Ellior of the Swedish police’s National Operations Department told the Swedish news agency TT. The theft would be logged at Interpol, enabling an international search.

The stolen artifacts are funeral regalia, which are placed inside or on top of a coffin to symbolize a deceased royal’s identity and social ranking.

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

In 2013, 16th-century copies of King Johan III’s crown, orb and scepter were stolen from the cathedral in the central Swedish city of Vasteras, 100 kilometres west of the capital Stockholm, during a nighttime burglary. They were eventually found and returned to the cathedral. No one was arrested.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

7 Mile Landfill operations tender closes October

Taxes covering the landfill have not increased over the past 15 years and are not expected to soon.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

NorthIsle starts drilling in Pemberton Hills area after negotiating deal with Freeport

Mining industry one step closer to a revitalization after farm-out agreement

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Port Hardy municipal election candidate Fred Robertson’s profile

Incumbent Robertson said he will “work toward maintaining our existing facilities.”

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read