Thieves smashed display cases and grabbed priceless jewels from an eastern German museum in the early hours of Monday in a lightning raid on one of Europe’s greatest collections of treasures.
"We are talking here of objects of immeasurable cultural value," museum director Dirk Syndram told a news conference. It would be impossible to sell such unique, identifiable items on the open market, added Marion Ackermann, director of museums in the surrounding state of Saxony.
"It would be a terrible thing," she said when asked whether the jewellery might be broken up or melted down. Its cultural value far outstripped any material value, she added.
The haul was worth up to 1 billion euros, Bild newspaper reported earlier, without giving a source. It said a nearby electricity junction box had been set on fire, cutting the power supply to the whole area before the heist.