In a daring midday heist, thieves in Sweden stole priceless crown jewels from a medieval cathedral and made a brazen getaway in a speedboat, according to police.
“The alarm went off when the burglars smashed the security glass and stole the artifacts,” Catharina Frojd, a spokeswoman for the Strangnas Cathedral, told The Associated Press.
Outside the church, witness Tom Roswell told the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet that as he lunched nearby with friends, he saw two people run toward the watercraft.
"I saw a white little boat and the men jumped in the boat and gassed away,” he said.
The two men appeared “non-nordic,” he said.
There was no threat of violence during the theft and no church employees were injured — but they were shaken by the crime, according to Aftonbladet.
The loot included two golden jeweled crowns and an orb made for Swedish King Karl IX and Queen Kristina, who ruled Sweden in the 17th Century and are buried inside the cathedral, according to the AP.
The crown jewels were displayed in an exhibition in the cathedral and visitors were inside at the time.
Frojd called the theft “an enormous loss in cultural value and economic value."
The jewels may be “impossible to sell,” Maria Ellior of the Swedish police’s National Operations Department told reporters.
Still, the theft may have come as a result of specific pre-order, police sources told Aftonbladet.
Calling in helicopters and boat-borne reinforcements from Stockholm, Swedish police mounted a massive search of lake Malaren, the waterbody next to the church the thieves escaped across, according to Aftonbladet.
"Since yesterday we have spanned the water and by helicopter,” police spokesman Stefan Dangart said.
But, so far, the search has been fruitless, and Swedish police are asking witnesses to come forward.
The Gothic-style cathedral dates to the 14th-century, and is located about 40 miles west of Stockholm, the country’s capital.
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