Gold treasure worth millions stolen from Celtic museum

The 450 gold coins were the museum’s magnificent flagship, now they’re gone: Unknown burglars stole the two-thousand-year-old gold treasure from the Celtic-Roman Museum in Manching, Upper Bavaria.

The museum was broken into early Tuesday morning, said a spokesman for the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Munich. The showcase with the treasure was broken open and the gold was completely stolen. “It was classic, as you would imagine in a bad movie,” said the rep. How the perpetrators switched off the alarm systems is still unclear.

LKA special investigators are currently investigating the art theft, said the spokesman. According to the information, the classic gold value according to the daily rate still has to be determined. However, the collector’s value is several million euros. The police assume that the perpetrators will either try to sell the pot of gold illegally on the art market or “in the worst case, it will be melted down,” said the spokesman for the authorities.

Largest Celtic gold find of the 20th century

According to the Kelten-Römer Museum, the hoard of 450 coins is the largest Celtic gold find of the 20th century. It dates from around the first century BC and was uncovered during excavations in the Manching area in the summer of 1999. The treasure has been exhibited in the museum in the district of Pfaffenhofen/Ilm since 2006 and has been the main attraction there ever since.

The so-called Oppidum Manching is considered to be an outstanding Celtic settlement, in which archaeologists continue to work to this day. The Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments counts the settlement among the most important archaeological monuments north of the Alps.

“The loss of the Celtic treasure is a catastrophe, the gold coins are irreplaceable as evidence of our history,” said Bavaria’s Minister of Art Markus Blume (CSU). The cultural damage is enormous. “Whoever committed this act: someone violated our history and put incredible criminal energy into it.” Blume said everything must be done to clarify the background and catch the criminals.

Connection to act of sabotage in Manching?

It is still unclear whether there is a connection between the gold robbery and a sabotage attack on a Telekom technical room in Manching. Burglars had severed several fiber optic cables there shortly after midnight. As a result, 13,000 Telekom household and business customers in the region lost their Internet and telephone services – and with it the museum’s alarm connection to the police. It is therefore conceivable that the same perpetrators are behind both burglaries. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office has not yet commented on this assumption.

With information from AFP, epd and dpa

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