CELTIC COINS STOLEN FROM GERMAN MUSEUM
In what appears to be a long-planned operation, a group of thieves have stolen 483 gold coins, worth approximately £1.5 million, from a museum in Germany.
The audacious heist took place at the relatively small Celtic Roman Museum in Manching, in Southern Germany, where the thieves reportedly spent just nine minutes inside the building, without raising any alarm.
German police have now launched a hunt for the thieves and their loot, consisting of the 483 Celtic coins and a lump of unworked gold, all of which was discovered during an archeological dig near the town in 1999.
According to Guido Limmer, the deputy head of Bavaria’s State Criminal Police Office, the criminals cut the cables of a nearby telecoms hub, knocking out communications networks in the region.
The museum’s security system indicates that the museum door was forced open at 1:26 am and the thieves left again at 1:35 am. There was no security guard on duty at the time.
Bavaria’s minister of science and arts, Markus Blume, told public broadcaster BR: ‘It’s clear that you don’t simply march into a museum and take this treasure with you. It’s highly secured and as such there’s a suspicion that we’re rather dealing with a case of organised crime.’
The bowl-shaped coins are said to date back to about 100 BC, and were made from Bohemian river gold. The rare pieces show how the Celtic settlement at Manching had links across Europe and the pieces have been described as ‘the war chest of a tribal chief’.
Numismatists now fear the coins could be melted down, meaning they would be lost forever.