German police officers secure the area during raids in Berlin, after thieves grabbed priceless jewels from the historic Green Vault museum (Gruenes Gewoelbe) in the city of Dresden last year, in Germany, on November 17, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)
Police raided apartments across Berlin early on Tuesday and detained three people suspected of involvement in a jewel heist at a museum housing one of Europeís greatest collections of treasures, officers said.
Thieves forced their way into Dresdenís Gruenes Gewoelbe, or Green Vault Museum, in November last year and got away with at least three sets of early 18th-century jewelry, including diamonds and rubies.
Police are searching 18 apartments, garages, and vehicles for the jewelry and other evidence, including digital data, clothes and tools, mostly in the cityís southern district of Neukoelln, the police force said.
A total of 1,638 officers, including from Dresden, were taking part in the operation that could cause serious traffic disruptions through the day, it added.
Three Germans were arrested on suspicion of theft and arson, and will appear before a investigating judge later in the morning, the police said. The police said the arrests took place in different parts of the country, without going into detail.
The stolen jewels were worth up to 1 billion euros ($1.19 billion), Bild newspaper reported at the time, without giving a source. It said a nearby electricity junction box had been set on fire, cutting the power supply to the whole area before the heist.