Jewel thieves made off with two priceless crowns and couple of bejeweled orbs belonging to a 17th Century king and queen in a daring mid-day robbery yesterday in Strängnäs, near Stockholm.
The stolen items, made of gold, pearls and other precious materials, were part of the funeral regalia of Sweden’s Charles IX and Kristina the Elder, who ruled Sweden in the 17th century. They were buried in the cathedral which is located some 58 kilometers (37 miles) west of the capital Stockholm.
The theft took place around lunchtime Tuesday, while the 13th century cathedral was open to visitors. The two men smashed the protective cases, grabbed the loot, and fled towards the shore of a nearby lake.
“I saw a little, white boat and the men jumped in the boat and sped away,” a witness told the Swedish daily Aftonbladet.
In a press statement, police said they then launched a manhunt by land, sea and air, but by the evening had not been able to catch the robbers.
Talking to the Sydsvenskan newspaper, church dean Christofer Lundgren said the items were insured, but stressed that the cultural value of the treasures is bigger than their material value.
“These are items that are completely unique, well-known … in Sweden and probably even internationally,” he said.
So if you happen to stumble across the Swedish crown jewels, hand them over to me and I’ll, um, be sure they get safely back to the cathedral, no problem.