Two suspects held over 100 kg gold coin heist in Germany

BERLIN: This file photo shows the gold coin ‘Big Maple Leaf’ on display at Berlin’s Bode Museum.—AFP

BERLIN: German police commandos yesterday detained two suspects in the spectacular theft of a 100-kilogramme gold coin from a Berlin museum this year.

Around 300 police took part in dawn raids on two apartments and a jeweler’s shop in Berlin’s Neukoelln district and locations in surrounding Brandenburg state. The Canadian “Big Maple Leaf” stolen in late March has a face value of $1 million, but the market price of 100 kilos of gold is almost $4 million.

The commemorative coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 measures 53 cm across and features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Thieves in late March stole the megacoin from the Bode Museum on the capital’s so-called Museum Island, close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s apartment.

Police in early July published video surveillance footage of the suspected thieves that showed three men wearing dark clothes, their faces obscured by hoodies, high collars and their hands. Authorities said yesterday that two of the men detained were believed to be the suspects in the footage, and that the other raids aimed mainly at securing evidence. There was no indication that the massive gold coin had been recovered.—AFP

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