Arts&Culture

Suspects Arrested in Connection to $4 Million Gold Coin Heist

Suspects Arrested in Connection to $4 Million Gold Coin Heist

Police in the German capital on Wednesday carried out a series of searches and arrests in relation to the recent theft of a Canadian gold coin valued at $4 million, the largest ever minted in the world.

According to Smithsonian.com, the Royal Canadian Mint produced only five copies of the coin, one of which was displayed behind bulletproof glass at Berlin's Bode Museum.

But they found no sign of the loot - Canada's "Big Maple Leaf" coin, which has a face value of one million Canadian dollars and is estimated to be worth 3.75 million euros (USD 4.3 million) on the gold market.

Heavily-armed masked police arrested the suspects, one wearing a hood over his head, in Berlin's Neukoelln neighborhood.

Last week, police released CCTV footage of suspects at a local train station. There was no indication that the massive gold coin had been recovered.

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

"Unfortunately, we assume that it has been at least partly, if not completely, broken down", said Carsten Pfohl of the regional crime office.

As well as making the arrests on Wednesday morning, police seized a auto where a balaclava and knife were found. The authorities also searched a neighborhood jewelry store that might have been involved in selling the gold.

The thieves were most likely tipped off to the existence of the enormous coin by an acquaintance who worked at the museum as a guard, police said.

While one side of these coins features a hand-polished maple leaf design by Royal Canadian Mint artist and engraver Stan Witten, the other bears the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by celebrated Canadian portrait artist Susanna Blunt.

Investigators believe the thiefs used a ladder and a wheelbarrow to remove the coin from the museum.

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