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(Swedish Police via AP) COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Thieves carrying out a daring daytime robbery smashed a security case at a cathedral in Sweden and stole gold and jewel-encrusted crowns from the early 1600s before hopping on bicycles and escaping via a nearby lake, police said.
The two men pulled off the heist at Strangnas Cathedral at noon Tuesday and vanished aboard a speedboat or jet skis into the vast patchwork of lakes around the city, located 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, police said.
The stolen artifacts included a gold crown and an orb dating to 1611 that were made for King Karl IX’s funeral, as well as a jewel-encrusted crown dating to 1625 that was used in Queen Kristina’s funeral.
The items were on display at an exhibition, and visitors were inside the cathedral when they were taken.
However, police spokesman Stefan Dangardt said “witnesses’ testimonies varied quite a bit” and it was also possible the thieves escaped on jet skis.
The men used two stolen black bicycles equipped with baskets and a child’s seat to race to the lake, Dangardt added.
The theft would be logged at Interpol, enabling an international search, the agency.
Strangnas, a small, quiet town with a population of about 13,000, is popular with Stockholm commuters and tourists, who come to see the cathedral and a street that has been called the prettiest in Sweden.
Here's how to play Swedish office politics and win.Tom Rowell, a visitor who was eating lunch outside the Lutheran church, said he saw two men running from the cathedral toward a small nearby jetty where a motorboat was moored.“The two men hurriedly jumped on board and it sped off,” Rowell said, adding that they “appeared non-Nordic.” He didn’t elaborate.Police sent out a helicopter and boat to hunt for the thieves but found nothing.
Authorities said no one was hurt in the robbery but didn’t provide further details.
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