Thieves escape by motorboat after jewel heist in Sweden

Two crowns and an orb dating back to the early 1600s stolen from church in Strangnas, west of Stockholm

The Swedish Royal Family’s crown jewels from the 17th century.

Jewel thieves are on the run from police in Sweden after they stole some of the country’s royal jewels from a cathedral before fleeing in a motorboat.

The daring theft occurred at about noon on Tuesday in Strangnas, west of Stockholm, while the cathedral was open to visitors, and a lunch fair was being held nearby.

Local news channel Aftonbladet reported the thieves stole two crowns and an orb, adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls that come from the funeral regalia of Charles IX and Kristina the Elder, dating back to the early 1600s.

Witness Tom Rowell, who is getting married in the cathedral next week, told Aftonbladet he saw two men run from the building, jump into a small white motorboat and speed away.

“We contacted the police and told them and they told us that something had been taken from the cathedral,” he said. “I knew immediately they were burglars because of the way they were behaving.”

“It’s despicable that people would steal from a historical building,” said Rowell.

It is believed the thieves fled via the vast system of lakes west of Stockholm. Police have mobilised a huge search operation with a helicopter and boats to find the men and recover the items but have so far been unsuccessful.
“It’s 1-0 to them right now,” Thomas Agnevik, a police spokesman, told Aftonbladet.

Police and cathedral officials said they did not know the value of the objects that were stolen. “It’s too difficult to translate these things into some kind of value. It’s such a unique object,” said Agnevik.

Catharina Frojd, who works at Strangnas cathedral, called the theft “an enormous loss in cultural value and economic value”.

But Maria Ellior of the Swedish police’s National Operations Department told Sweden’s TT news agency the items are “impossible to sell.”

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