Three members of a notorious criminal gang have confessed to stealing priceless 18th-century jewelery from a German state museum. Trial at Dresden.
One of the six defendants, Rafih Remmo, told the regional court in the eastern city that he and an unnamed accomplice entered the green vault in a brazen manner. Night Test in November 2019.
In a statement agreed to as part of a plea agreement, they said they used an ax to break the glass of the display cases and stuffed the jewelery into a sack they had brought with them. The accomplice then uses a fire extinguisher to destroy traces of their DNA.
The group, which had gassed the museum on two previous trips, fled in a getaway car to a parking garage, where they set fire to the vehicle to cover their tracks before returning to Berlin.
“My contribution to the crime was bigger than I initially said,” Remmo said in a partial confession last year. “I, myself, was in the chambers of the Green Vault.”
Two co-accused, Wissam and Mohamed Remmo, in statements read by their lawyers, also told the court that they participated in the robbery. However, they did not stay inside the museum, instead they observed and retrieved the stolen items and the tools used for the break-in.
They said the idea came after a young acquaintance raved about the green diamonds on display in the “Green Vault in Dresden.”
A fourth defendant said he would make a statement at the next hearing on Friday as part of a deal reached between defense lawyers and the prosecution and approved by the court last week.
In exchange for their confessions and the return of the precious jewels, the defendants were to receive lighter sentences.
A fifth suspect has rejected the deal, while a sixth and final defendant has told jurors he has an alibi for the day of the robbery.
Last week, a court recommended a prison sentence of several years for stealing jewelry worth at least €113.8 million. German media called it the biggest art theft in modern history.
Judges proposed prison terms ranging from four years and nine months to six years and nine months as part of an agreement with prosecutors that led to the recovery of some of the valuables stolen from a river in mid-December.
Thieves seized 21 jewels and other valuables from the collection of Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong, which included more than 4,300 individual diamonds. Some pieces are still missing, including a brooch belonging to Queen Amalie Auguste of Saxony, while several pieces recovered are badly damaged.
The jewels included a diamond-encrusted sword and shoulder piece that featured the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond.
“I didn’t loot — I didn’t approach it. I don’t know what happened to it,” Rabbi Remmo said Tuesday. “I did everything I could to make sure what was left returned to Dresden.”
The men under investigation are members of the so-called Remmo clan, a large family linked to organized crime. Germany. A further 40 people are still wanted and believed to be involved in the robbery.