Germany probes links between Celtic gold heist, other thefts

German police said Wednesday they were examining links between the daring theft of hundreds of Celtic gold coins this week and other spectacular heists from the country’s museums.

The 483 coins were snatched early Tuesday from a museum in the southern town of Manching, with thieves taking just nine minutes to break in and make off with the stash, according to police.

Officials suspect organised crime was behind the theft of the coins, which have an estimated market value of 1.6 million euros ($1.66 million).

Just before the break-in, nearby internet cables were cut — causing widespread outages, and meaning an alarm was not triggered when a museum door was forced open, police said.

It is the latest such theft — in 2017, a massive gold coin was snatched from a Berlin museum, and in 2019, thieves took 21 pieces of jewellery and other valuables from Dresden’s Green Vault museum.

“We are of course in touch with colleagues in Berlin and Dresden,” Guido Limmer, vice-president of the state criminal police office in the southern state of Bavaria, told a press conference.

“Possible parallels exist” between the latest theft and the previous ones, he said. Although he cautioned that “we can’t yet say whether there are connections.”

Bavaria’s minister for science and art, Markus Blume, suspected a professional job.

“It is clear that you don’t just march into such a museum and go off with this treasure,” he told local broadcaster BR.

“It is highly secure, and it is reasonable to assume that we are dealing with a case of organised crime.”

The coins, at the Celtic and Roman Museum, constituted the biggest discovery of Celtic gold in the 20th century.

Unearthed in 1999 in a dig at a settlement near present-day Manching, they date from around 100 BC, according to Rupert Gebhard, from Bavaria’s state archaeological collection.

They are considered a “real jewel” by the European archaeological community, he told a press conference.

It was not clear what the thieves planned to do with the coins, he said, but added: “The worst option, melting them down, would be a total loss for us.” (AFP)

Recession in US ‘not inevitable’: Yellen

A recession in the US is “not inevitable,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday, adding that she believes the world’s biggest economy is on the right track in lowering inflation.