Two arrested over 100 kg gold coin robbery in Berlin

German special police have arrested several people suspected of having carried out the old-fashioned heist of a €4m (£3.6m) 100kg gold in Berlin.

Police say the three-centimeter (1.2-inch) thick gold coin, with a diameter of 53 centimeters (20.9 inches) has a face value of 1 million Canadian dollars ($750,000).

The world's largest gold coin, a 2007 Canadian $1,000,000 Maple Leaf, at the Dorotheum auction house after an auction in Vienna on June 25, 2010.

Investigators have spoken with German gold specialists, hoping that they had come into contact with the coin, Mr. Steltner said, but to no avail.

"We assume that the coin was sold, either complete or in parts", Carsten Pfohl, a spokesman for the Berlin state criminal office, said at the news conference. The authorities also searched a neighborhood jewelry store that might have been involved in selling the gold.

At least two thieves had entered the museum through a third-floor window in the early hours of the morning by propping up a ladder on the elevated tracks of the railway between Hackescher Markt and Friedrichstrasse stations. The police also found the rope, the ladder and the wheelbarrow as well a burning Mercedes in an underground vehicle park. They grabbed the coin, loaded it onto a wheelbarrow and then carted it out of the building and along the tracks across the Spree river before descending into a park on a rope and fleeing in a getaway auto.

Heavily-armed masked police arrested the suspects, one wearing a hood over his head, in Berlin's Neukoelln neighborhood. After several interested buyers came forward, the Mint decided to make a very limited number of coins available for sale. "The fact that the police was able to find evidence makes us happy and also eliminates our general mistrust against museum staff", he said.

In July, police published still photos made from surveillance video asking the public for help in finding the thieves.

  • Jacqueline Ellis