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

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Hog fuel pile flares up in Chemainus

Second time in a week firemen get the call to Coast Environmental

Firefighters knock down bush fire south of Nanaimo

Heavy smoke in atmosphere is making spotting new fires difficult from the air and ground

VIDEO: Ladysmith, North Oyster crews knock down brush fire

The quick action of Ladysmith and North Oyster and firefighters from the… Continue reading

Mid-Vancouver Island air quality risk very high

Residents of the mid-Island area went to bed last night and awoke… Continue reading

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read