The funeral crown of former Swedish King Charles IX along with the funeral crown of his wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp were stolen Tuesday from a cathedral in a heist that saw the thieves flee by boat.
The two crowns, along with a royal orb which make up part of the collection of the Swedish Royal Crown Jewels were stolen from Strängnäs cathedral in the town of Strängnäs Tuesday morning, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Initially police gave few details about the theft, refusing to say what exactly had been stolen from the cathedral, simply noting it had “a high value”. They did, however, claim that the suspected pair of thieves had fled by boat along the nearby Lake Mälaren.
Tom Rowsell, a British documentary maker living in Sweden who witnessed the theft told Breitbart London: “they looked suspicious, moving erratically and hurriedly in such a calm town. So I advised the other witnesses to tell the police about what we had seen.
“There were soon police cars all around so we stopped one to give our statements.”
Police say they searched for suspects in the surrounding area, including the lake, but have so far not made any arrests nor claimed to have any suspects identified.
Thomas Agnevik, a spokesman for the police said, “I have talked to someone at the county administrative board that says it is not possible to put an economic value on them – these are invaluable objects of national interest.”
Reports suggest that the cathedral was not empty at the time of the theft and that staff had not only opened the place of worship to the public but were present in the building during the incident.
Member of staff Catharina Fröjd commented on the theft saying, “We are well and are happy that it is material damage and that no one has been injured physically or mentally.” The staff closed the church following the theft for the remainder of the day.
The theft is not the first time royal jewels have been stolen in Sweden. In 2012, a 19-year-old refugee, who was said to be a friend of the royal family, stole 850,000 kronor (£73,700) worth of jewels, selling them for a mere 9000 kronor (£780) to a pair of drug dealers for marijuana.
The 19-year-old was also said to have stolen a tiara worth 350,000 kronor (£30,350) and thrown it off a bridge.
The hunt for the suspects is unlikely to be helped by huge shortages of staff and resources facing Swedish police.
Sweden’s Crimewave Cities Have Left Rural Areas Without Police Officers, Complain Locals https://t.co/2xv6gLGpLb
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 10, 2018
Swedish criminology professor Jerzy Sarnecki has claimed police need more resources to tackle crime across the country saying, “The police’s resources are extremely limited, so some cases will be allowed to lie dormant,” and noted that increased violent crimes turn police attention from other cases.
The lack of resources has been made clear in areas like southern Lapland, a region the size of Denmark, in which police have been reduced to a single police car to patrol overnight across the entire region.