German police make arrests over €4m gold coin heist

Berlin police Big Maple Leaf

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.

Royal Canadian Mint spokesman Alex Reeves said at the time of the theft that the coin has a face value of $1 million, but by weight alone it would be worth nearly US$4.5 million at market prices.

Criminal investigator Carsten Pfohl said: "We are assuming that the coin was in part or in whole sold off".

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

A vehicle was also seized by special police forces this morning (July 12) as several apartments and an Arabic jewellery shop were also searched. By weight alone, however, it would be worth nearly $4.5 million at market prices.

Armed police in balaclavas were outside a property in the Neukoelln area of Berlin, along with paramedics. The authorities also searched a neighborhood jewelry store that might have been involved in selling the gold.

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"It is 100 kilos, made by the Canadian Mint, and is of high purity", Bernhard Weisser, director of the museum's coin department, said in an interview.

Two service staff at the state body that runs Berlin's museums were among those being investigated by police, the body's chief of security Hans-Juergen Harras told the national news agency DPA.

Police believe the thieves broke into the museum from an elevated section of tram tracks, using a ladder to enter undetected.

Police were unable to provide information about the whereabouts of the coin.

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

The commemorative coin was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 and features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

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