Police tape cordons off the Dresden Castle, the location of the state's Green Vault, in Dresden, Saxony, Germany, on Monday after a heist netted thieves three precious diamond jewelry sets. Photo by Filip Singer/EPA-EFE
Nov. 25 (UPI) -- German authorities are trying to find a team of bandits who pulled off a daring museum heist Monday that netted three sets of priceless diamond jewelry, officials said.
Investigators said the thieves broke into the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden early Monday by removing part of an iron gate and breaking a ground-floor window. A fire at a nearby electricity junction may have been planned to disable the museum's alarm, authorities said.
All three diamond sets included 37 pieces each and experts say they're too precious to carry a monetary value.
The Grünes Gewölbe, or Green Vault, is home to one of the largest collection of art masterpieces in Europe, including historical jewelry and ornaments along with gold figurines and goblets.
A surveillance camera, despite the lack of power, managed to capture two of the thieves inside the vault but police said the darkness makes them difficult to identify. Authorities aren't sure how many people were involved.
Police said they found a burning car in Dresden that may have been the getaway vehicle.
"We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell," Marion Ackermann, director of Dresden's state art collections, said. "The material value doesn't reflect historic meaning."
The Grünes Gewölbe is one of 12 museums that make up the Dresden state art collections and contains 10 rooms with about 3,000 items of jewelry and other notable pieces. The building was restored after being heavily damaged during World War II and is one of Germany's leading tourist attractions since it reopened in 2006.