COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A man was charged Thursday with stealing $7.2 million worth of Swedish royal treasure including a jeweled crown from a cathedral where they were on display.
The two crowns and an orb used for the funerals of King Karl IX and Queen Kristina haven’t been recovered, national police investigator Filippo Bassini said.
Bassini said Thursday they believe two men stole the artifacts, dating back to 1611 and made for the royals’ funerals, from the Gothic-style Strangnas Cathedral, a red-brick church built between 1291 and 1340 west of the capital. The second man has been detained but hasn’t been charged.
“We cannot exclude that the objects have left Sweden,” Bassini said. National police assisted local police in the investigation and the theft has been logged at Interpol, which enables an international search.
The 22-year-old suspect, who wasn’t named, was found thanks to DNA found at the crime scene and on a bicycle used as part of the getaway after the theft. He has denied, prosecutor Isabelle Bjursten told a news conference.
She said blood was found on an object they believe the thieves were trying to steal, adding prosecutors believed the heist was planned.
The items were stolen July 31 from an alarmed display after the thieves had smashed the glass. They fled first on bicycles and then on a motorboat via the vast system of lakes west of Stockholm.
The stolen artifacts are so-called funeral regalia, which are placed inside or on top of a coffin to symbolize a deceased royal’s identity and social ranking.
While some funeral regalia are kept in the cathedrals of Strangnas, Uppsala and Vasteras, the vast majority of Sweden’s crown jewels are in vaults under the Royal Castle in Stockholm.
No date for a trial was announced.