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Can you solve this heist online?

The thieves who shattered the Green Vault and plundered crown jewels from Dresden Castle last November reportedly offered items for sale on the dark web some time ago.

It remains uncertain whether the report is true. Nevertheless, it’s a chilling story.

We have the Dresden White diamond and the star of the Polish White Eagle. These items are left and will be returned for a price… Please note we will not negotiate….You will not find us, don’t bother.

Photo credit: Jürgen Karpinski

According to Zvika Nave of the CGI Group, the communications came online in messages via the dark web, an unregulated area of the Internet used by criminals to avoid detection. The investigators who received the messages reported that the items were offered for 9 million Euros paid via Bitcoin, a decentralized online cryptocurrency which is extremely difficult to trace.

The asking price would seem to be a bargain, considering that the 49-carat Dresden White Diamond, seen at top-right above, is worth more than 9 million Euros all by itself.

The museum denies involvement with the CGI Group and prosecutors in Dresden said in a statement: “The investigating authorities have no indications that jewellery stolen from the Green Vault was offered for sale.”

Given the sensitivity of this case, it’s possible we will never know whether the report was real or invented.

Still… It got me thinking.

There is great fear among professionals (myself included) that these historic jewels will be broken into smaller components, even reduced to individual gemstones, for anonymous liquidation.

There is a compelling reason not to do this, however. With their historic value completely demolished there would be very poor return on their sale. Each piece of royal jewelry is worth exponentially more if kept intact.

Living in our world’s new normal, is there a chance the thieves would turn to e-Fencing or even outright anonymous sale?

What if?

What if the the perpetrators are not willing to accept pennies on the dollar? What if they put these iconic items on ice somewhere, to wait until law-enforcement relaxed their pursuit? What if these glorious items still exist in their original, valuable condition?

Whether they actually contacted the CGI Group or not is irrelevant. What if they’ve been laying low, waiting to leverage the highest possible ransom, and now the COVID-19 situation has closed borders and rendered in-person meetings impossible?

Would they consider turning to untraceable e-commerce and bitcoin? Could they? If every jewelry-lover around the world searched online through all of the various sales-platforms – Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc. – for hints of these glorious items is there even a small chance we might find them? One of them? Any of them?

Maybe not. But the alternative is the heartbreak of their destruction. So I am choosing hope.

I’m posting the images below and invite you to join me, keeping these beautiful, irreplaceable treasures in mind as you surf online. Who knows? Maybe you’ll solve a crime!

Photo credit: Jürgen Karpinski

Interpol information

Click here to view on Interpol’s website.

Image credit: Interpol

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