Dresden, Germany, May 16: A German court on Tuesday sentenced five gang members to up to six years in prison for snatching priceless 18th-century jewels from a Dresden museum in what has been dubbed the biggest art heist in modern history.
The thieves made off with a haul worth more than 113 million euros ($123 million) from the Green Vault museum in 2019. Some, but not all, of the loot was recovered in exchange for four of the defendants confessing in court.
The convicted men are members of the “Remmo clan”, an extended family mostly based in Berlin known for a web of ties to organised crime in Germany.
The court in Dresden handed down three sentences ranging from just under to just over six years for armed robbery, aggravated arson and grievous bodily harm for the November 25, 2019, heist.
Two of the men, who were minors at the time of the crime, received juvenile sentences of five years and four years and four months respectively.
A sixth defendant was acquitted because he produced a credible alibi — an emergency surgery at a Berlin hospital.
The plea deal came in for criticism, however, with the president of the Berlin prosecutors’ association, Ralph Knispel, noting that the defendants had not been required to reveal their accomplices in exchange for lighter sentences.
“The question is what message that sends” to other criminals, Knispel told public broadcaster RBB.