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

Preparing Penticton workplaces for legalized pot

No easy answers to how legalized pot will affect the workplace

Penticton city council candidate questioning vote counters

Kevin Proteau has previously requested the city go back to manual vote counts

Quebec native on the road in the Okanagan to promote his vigorous vegan lifestyle

Frank Metivier is encouraging others to get the facts about turning vegan during his travels

Okanagan RCMP detachment hosts recruiting, exam sessions

If you’ve contemplated a career with RCMP, register for sessions at West Kelowna detachment

Okanagan junior hockey player named to U-17 Team Canada

Cole Shepard of the Penticton Vees was one of 66 players chosen to represent Canada

VIDEO: First legal cannabis purchases as midnight strikes in eastern Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to kick off the sale of cannabis, just after midnight local time

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Most Read