Thieves steal Swedish royal jewels, escape by speedboat

Pontus Stenberg  TT News Agency via AP

The crowns, plated in gold and encrusted with jaw-dropping stones and pearls, once belonged to Queen Kristina and King Karl IX and were originally buried with them but later exhumed.

The crowns and the orb were reportedly exhibited in locked glass cases, which ultimately proved to be no match for the two thieves.

Christofer Lundgren, dean of the cathedral, said: 'This is part of the national cultural heritage - this is a theft from Swedish society'.

The robbers then made their getaway in a motorboat that was waiting a couple of hundred metres away on lake Malaren, Sweden's third biggest lake, police said.

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'We have some different information about how exactly the boat looked.

The men were seen escaping in a motorboat. We are now exanimating all the tips we receive.

The cathedral dates back to the 12 century. Police have used helicopters to try to track them down.

An official with the Swedish police's National Operations Department told a local media outlet that she thought the stolen goods would be "impossible to sell" due to how unique and recognizable they were.

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The cathedral was closed today, and a grassy area by the jetty was cordoned off as police inspected the ground for clues.

An eyewitness, Tom Rowsell, said: "One of my friends saw two people running".

Sweden's royal family still regularly captures Europe's attention with glamour, gossip - and the shiny crown jewels that are put on public display whenever the occasion merits it. They were eventually found and returned to the cathedral.

'I think it's very bad, it's despicable that people would steal from a holy building and take something of historic and monetary value.

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