A still from security tape showing two thieves breaking into the Green Vault in Dresden on Sunday.
Dresden Police

  • Security tape captured the moment burglars in Germany smashed their way into a museum and stole €1 billion (around R16 billion) worth of jewels.
  • The burglary took place at the Green Vault at Dresden's Royal Palace at 5 a.m. on Sunday.
  • In the video, a masked thief attacks the grilled windows of the Green Vault with an axe, while an accomplice lights the scene with a flashlight.
  • The vault is home to a collection of jewellery and artefacts several hundred years old. Among the stolen items was an 18th century sword and scabbard adorned with 700 diamonds.
  • Dresden Police said in a press conference Monday the thieves started a fire nearby which cut out the power supply in the area before breaking in to the museum.
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Security tape has revealed how thieves smashed their way into a museum in Dresden, Germany, before making off with  €1 billion (around R16 billion) in jewels.

Two thieves set off an alarm at around 5 a.m. local time on Monday morning inside the Green Vault museum, an area within Dresden's Residenzschloss Palace which houses hundreds of pre-modern artifacts.

You can watch the video below:

In the video, a masked thief attacks the grilled windows of the Green Vault with an axe, while an accomplice lights the scene with a flashlight.

"Two suspects can be seen on the recordings, but that doesn't mean there weren't other accomplices," Volker Lange of Dresden Police told media on Monday.

Visitors look at treasures at the Green Vault State Art Collection in Dresden, January 2004.
Getty Images

Marion Ackermann, head of the Dresden museums, said three out of 10 sets of diamonds were taken, comprising 37 individual items.

The items include a sword and scabbard set with 800 diamonds, a 177-pearl necklace made during the rule of the last King of Saxony, Frederick Augustus III, and a shoulder epaulet made with over 200 diamonds.

Police said that a small fire was started in a nearby square that led to an electricity box catching fire - plunging the entire area into a blackout.

The Pretiosensaal in the Historic Green Vault in the Dresden Palace of the Dresden State Art Collections.
Getty Images

The blackout meant that all the street lamps and CCTV cameras surrounding the museum failed, lending a huge advantage to the thieves. But one managed to capture the thieves braking their way in.

"This is a bitter day for the cultural heritage of Saxony," Roland Wöller, the interior minister for the Saxony region, said on Monday.

"The thieves stole cultural treasures of immeasurable worth - that is not only the material worth but also the intangible worth to the state of Saxony, which is impossible to estimate."

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