Police tape is pictured at Strangnas Cathedral after thieves stole royal crowns from the 17th century, in Strangnas, Sweden, July 31 2018. Picture: REUTERS/TT NEWS AGENCY
Police tape is pictured at Strangnas Cathedral after thieves stole royal crowns from the 17th century, in Strangnas, Sweden, July 31 2018. Picture: REUTERS/TT NEWS AGENCY

Stockholm — Robbers who nabbed two 17th-century royal crowns and an orb from a Swedish cathedral remained at large on Wednesday, a day after fleeing their daring midday heist by speedboat.

The thieves, who have not been identified, and the jewels are being sought internationally via Interpol, Swedish police spokesman Stefan Dangardt said, noting the objects were a "national treasure" and would likely be "very difficult to sell".

The gold burial crowns from 1611 belonging to King Karl IX and his wife Queen Christina were originally interred with the couple but were later exhumed and had been on display in a locked glass cabinet in Strangnas Cathedral, located 100km west of Stockholm.

King Karl IX’s crown is made of gold and features crystals and pearls, while Christina’s is smaller and made of gold, precious stones and pearls. "We have as yet no value of the stolen goods, except that it is a national treasure," Dangardt said.

"Several people were seen leaving the church by boat or jet-ski after the theft. We have spoken to witnesses, but we are interested in further information from anyone that has made any observations," he said.

Tom Rowsell, who was having lunch outside the cathedral where he is to be married this weekend, said he saw two men dash from the building towards a motorboat waiting on Lake Malaren.

"I saw a white little boat with an outboard motor on the back. The two men hurriedly jumped on board and it sped off," Rowsell said. "I knew immediately they were burglars because of the way they were behaving," he said.

The theft occurred just before noon on Tuesday, and police quickly had helicopters, patrols and search dogs looking for the thieves but their efforts had so far proved unsuccessful, Dangardt said.

"There is of course going to be a lot of media interest in these types of objects.

"There will be pictures in the media. It’s just not possible to sell these kinds of objects," the national police co-ordinator for thefts of cultural artefacts, Maria Ellior, said.

"So we can only speculate about [the thieves’] intentions," she added.

AFP


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