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German police discover melted-down gold after theft of Celtic cash, search remainder of treasure

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BERLIN — Investigators wanting into the theft of lots of of historical gold cash from a German museum have discovered lumps of gold that seem to have resulted from a part of the treasure being melted down, however nonetheless maintain out hope of discovering the remaining intact, officers mentioned Thursday.

4 suspects have been arrested on Tuesday over the Nov. 22 break-in on the Celtic and Roman Museum within the Bavarian city of Manching through which 483 Celtic cash found throughout an archaeological dig in 1999 have been stolen. The cash date to round 100 B.C.

Authorities mentioned Thursday that DNA discovered on an object outdoors the museum, which they would not determine, led them to the suspects, three of whom they linked to a collection of earlier break-ins in Germany and neighboring Austria relationship again to 2014. The Manching theft gave the impression to be the alleged gang’s first focusing on cultural treasures.

The cash and a lump of unworked gold have been found throughout excavations of an historical settlement in Manching, and authorities have mentioned they’re thought-about the most important trove of Celtic gold discovered within the twentieth century.

The deputy head of Bavaria’s state prison police workplace, Guido Limmer, advised reporters in Munich that authorities have examined 18 lumps of gold that have been recovered this week. Every is believed to be the results of 4 cash being melted down, and Limmer mentioned that the non-standard alloy largely matches that of the treasure, although an additional evaluation is ongoing.

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“We all know that about 70 gold cash have apparently been misplaced irretrievably of their cultural and historic significance,” mentioned Bavaria’s state tradition minister, Markus Blume. “However that implies that after all there may be nonetheless hope of maybe having the ability to discover the remainder of the gold cash, and so nearly all of the gold treasure.”

Searches for the lacking objects have been persevering with in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state in northeastern Germany, the place three of the suspects have been arrested, and elsewhere.

The German suspects — a telecoms engineer, an accountant, a store supervisor and a demolition agency worker — have not given any data to authorities since their arrest, officers mentioned.

A decide on Wednesday ordered them saved in custody pending a attainable indictment on costs of gang theft, which might carry a jail sentence of as much as 10 years. Three of them are additionally suspected of collaborating in 11 different robberies or tried robberies between 2014 and 2022 through which supermarkets, a car registration workplace and a on line casino have been focused.

Investigators have mentioned that cables have been lower at a telecommunications hub, knocking out native networks, earlier than the Manching heist, and that the thieves received out and in of the museum in 9 minutes in the course of the night time with out triggering an alarm.

They mentioned Thursday that related strategies have been used within the different thefts, with the thieves carrying black overalls and utilizing the identical crowbars and a radio jammer to disrupt alarm techniques and reducing telephone cables. One of many thieves was conspicuously tall.

Among the gear apparently used was present in Tuesday’s raids on 28 properties, and one of many suspects was carrying the 18 lumps of gold in a plastic bag, officers mentioned.

Investigators mentioned autos rented this yr by the suspects had been used to take a look at different attainable targets in Germany, stopping close to museums in Frankfurt, Idar-Oberstein, Trier and Pforzheim. Police moved on this week after being tipped off to a attainable handover associated to the Manching theft.

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