Four Suspects in Custody after Kelten Römer Museum Gold Theft

Thursday, July 20, 2023
Four Suspects in Custody after Kelten Römer Museum Gold Theft

Art detectives from the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office, Germany, have executed four arrest warrants against the alleged thieves of the Manching Gold Treasure under the direction of the Ingolstadt Public Prosecutor's Office.

Unknown perpetrators cut several fiber optic cables in a Telekom distribution house in Manching on November 22, 2022, shortly after 00:30 am. As a result, the internet and telephone connections were disrupted in 13,000 households for several hours. Approximately an hour later, at 01:26 am, the "Kelten Römer Museum Manching" was broken into. Within nine minutes, the burglars forced open two locked doors and the floor showcase containing the Celtic treasure from Manching, the largest Celtic gold find from the 1st/2nd century BC, which had been discovered during excavations in the 20th century.

Extensive search measures were carried out around the museum, with the assistance of the Bavarian Police's diving team, resulting in the discovery of two blue crowbars, a pruning shear, and a side cutter in the nearby Pichler Pond and in the Paar river. All the seized items were subjected to forensic examination, which led to the securing of a DNA trace.

A database comparison of this trace in the nationwide DNA database and neighboring countries yielded eight additional matches. These were related to similar thefts throughout Germany and Austria. In each case, the thieves cut cables before the actual break-ins to bypass alarm systems.

Similar crime files examined extensively by the special commission led to suspicions against a 42-year-old German man. He was suspected of being involved in a burglary in North Rhine-Westphalia in April 2018. During the investigation of this person, another man, a 46-year-old German, came under the focus of the investigators.

In the following weeks and months, with the support of the State Criminal Police Office of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the suspicions against the initially identified two suspects and a 50-year-old German man from Schwerin solidified.

On Tuesday, July 18, 2023, with the assistance of special units, the three suspects were temporarily arrested in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district, Schwerin, and Halle (Westphalia). The suspects were brought before the respective investigating judges on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, who granted the arrest warrants requested by the Ingolstadt Public Prosecutor's Office and issued by the Ingolstadt District Court.

Upon his arrest, the 42-year-old was carrying 18 gold nuggets in a plastic bag. An initial analysis using micro-X-ray fluorescence analysis at the Criminal-Technical Institute of the BLKA revealed a material composition of gold, silver, and copper matching that of the Gold Treasure. As a result, it is highly probable that these are processed pieces of the Manching Gold Treasure. Further examinations are currently being conducted in collaboration with the Archaeological State Collection.


Image on top : Manchinger Goldschatz Foto: Archäologische Staatssammlung/dpa/Archiv

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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