A group of Berlin thieves pulled off an improbable heist early Monday morning, breaking into a German museum with a ladder and carting away a 100-kilogram gold coin named the “Big Maple Leaf” in a wheelbarrow.
Between 3:20 and 3:45 on Monday morning, thieves entered the Bode Museum through a window and stole the coin, which was originally issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. It has a face value of $1-million but, according to current gold prices, could be worth at least $5-million.
Martin Halweg, a spokesman with the German police, told The Globe and Mail that the suspects are believed to have set up a three-metre-long ladder, which enabled them to enter at the back of the Bode next to a set of railway tracks. They then used a wheelbarrow to remove the valuable, which is one in a series of six certified by Guinness World Records because of its size and 999.99/1000 gold purity.
Pictures taken before the burglary show that the coin, which is three centimetres thick and roughly as wide as a car tire, was displayed inside a glass-enclosed, bulletproof cabinet. Like all Canadian gold coins, it bears the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse side.
The coin has been on display since 2010 and was part of the Munzkabinett collection, Berlin’s most important archive of coinage, which includes more than 540,000 objects. No other thefts have been announced.
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