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

West Central Peewee Tigers crowned SCAHL league champions

The Tigers are set to continue their dominating season at Peewee AA Provincials March 28

Wolf Creek Schools superintendent receives contract extension

Jayson Lovell will continue to serve as superintendent through 2024

New Lacombe Lodge, Parkview Manor priorities for Lacombe Foundation

Lacombe Foundation conducting public consultations to be shovel-ready

Veteran Profile: Lacombe veteran recounts time in service, Part One

VVOC Founding Executive Director Allan Cameron profiles a veteran in this monthly column

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Most Read