BERLIN (AP) — Investigators looking into the theft of hundreds of ancient gold coins from a German museum have found lumps of gold that appear to have resulted from part of the treasure being melted down, but still hold out hope of finding the rest intact, officials said Thursday.
Four suspects were arrested on Tuesday over the Nov. 22 break-in at the Celtic and Roman Museum in the Bavarian town of Manching in which 483 Celtic coins discovered during an archaeological dig in 1999 were stolen. The coins date to around 100 B.C.
Authorities said Thursday that DNA found on an object outside the museum, which they wouldn’t identify, led them to the suspects, three of whom they linked to a series of previous break-ins in Germany and neighboring Austria dating back to 2014. The Manching robbery appeared to be the alleged gang’s first targeting cultural treasures.
The coins and a lump of unworked gold were discovered during excavations of an ancient settlement in Manching, and authorities have said they are considered the biggest trove of Celtic gold found in the 20th century.
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