A Prime Suspect in the Spectacular Green Vault Jewel Heist Eluded Police Yet Again During the Raid of a Berlin Apartment

The wanted man's twin brother—also a suspect in the crime—was arrested in December.

Picture taken on April 9, 2019 shows the Jewel Room, one of the rooms in the historic Green Vault (Gruenes Goelbe) at the Royal Palace in Dresden. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/AFP via Getty Images.

A man suspected of participating in a daring jewel heist in Dresden is on the run again after escaping police clutches this week.

German authorities raided an apartment in the Berlin borough of Neukölln on Tuesday morning in search of a 21-year-old man who they allege was involved in the spectacular heist of rare antique diamonds at the Green Vault museum in 2019.

“We had a reasonable suspicion that he was in the apartment,” a spokesman for the Dresden prosecutor’s office, Lorenz Haase, told Die Zeit. The Dresden prosecutor’s office said that a cell phone and documents were seized from the apartment, and that the manhunt continues at “full speed.”

The police have been looking for the man since he eluded arrest last November during a police raid in the same neighborhood. The operation included more than 1,000 police officers and special forces searching 18 locations. Police made three arrests and found tools, hard drives, computers, cell phones, machetes, axes, and firearms.

Armed police officers are standing on a balcony during the raid in Berlin in November. Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images.

The following month, officers nabbed the wanted man’s twin brother, also in Neukölln. He is now in custody with the other three in Dresden awaiting trial on charges of grand gang theft and arson.

The burglary took place in November 2019, when several individuals broke into the Green Vault through a small window. They smashed display cases containing 18th-century jewels, including diamonds and rubies, and then took off in a getaway car, which they burned before escaping with a second vehicle.

In their search for the culprits, police have honed in on a Berlin crime family, described in German media as R. clan (the family’s real name is omitted from media reports due to German privacy laws). Members of the group have previously been in trouble with the law for cultural property theft. In 2017, two cousins from the family were convicted of stealing a 220-pound gold coin from the Bode museum in Berlin. The rare coin, one of six in the world, has not been seen since the theft. Gold flakes found on the suspects’ clothes suggested the artifact had been melted and shaved down.

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