The unceremonious end to the Swedish crown-jewels theft

Fit for a king.
Fit for a king.
Image: Reuters
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The plot in one of the oddest real-life heists of recent times thickens.

Last summer, thieves managed to steal the Swedish royal family’s crown jewels—including an orb and crowns belonging to royal Karl IX, who reigned from 1604-1611, and to his wife, Kristina. The theft occurred in broad daylight July 30 at Strängnäs Cathedral in southeastern Sweden while employees were working. The thieves took off by speedboat, precious 17th-century accessories in tow.

Now local reports say Swedish police appear to have recovered the stolen goods.

The timing and location of the find are somewhat strange. According to The Local Sweden, the jewels were discovered by a security guard on top of a rubbish bin in Stockholm suburb Åkersberga early today (Feb. 5). “Everything suggests that Charles IX’s stolen funeral regalia have been found in the Stockholm area, but police are working hard to get it 100% confirmed,” the Swedish police say in a statement.

This rather unceremonious discovery coincides with the trial of a 22-year-old man who is the sole suspect to have been arrested in connection with the theft of what police have described as “invaluable items of national interest.” The defendant denies having anything to do with the stolen jewels but admits to stealing both a bicycle and a boat that were used as the getaway vehicles. (Witnesses described two people taking off in the speedboat.)

The accused hasn’t named anyone else. His trial has been put on hold as police examine the discovered loot and try to confirm these are indeed the goods. Prosecutors have until Feb. 8 to let the court know where the case stands.

What’s particularly odd is that the case seems to be part of an emerging pattern in Swedish royal goods thefts. In 2013, a crown and scepter used in the funeral of King Johan III were also stolen and later dumped in a manner unbefitting a king. Police found the jewels after a tip informing them to search garbage bags at the side of a highway.