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Thieves steal priceless Swedish crown jewels in brazen heist
A picture taken on July 31, 2018 shows a cordoned zone as Swedish police investigates after Swedens royal jewels dated from the 17th century have been stolen in the Strängnäs cathedral, west of Stockholm. - Robbers who nabbed two 17th century royal crowns and an orb from a Swedish cathedral remained at large, a day after fleeing their daring midday heist by motorboat. (Pontus Stenberg/TT News Agency/AFP)

Thieves steal priceless Swedish crown jewels in brazen heist

Thieves in Sweden stole two priceless crowns and a royal orb from under an alarmed, locked case in a cathedral in Sweden and made what so far appears to be a clean getaway.

What was stolen?

The crowns and royal orb had originally belonged to Sweden's King Karl IX  and Queen Kristina, who ruled from 1604 to 1611. The monarchs were initially buried with these crowns, but later exhumed, NBC News said.

An official with the Swedish police's National Operations Department told a local media outlet that she thought the stolen goods would be “impossible to sell” due to how unique and recognizable they were.

How did this happen?

The crowns and orb were on display in a locked and alarmed glass case in Strängnäs Cathedral, about an hour from the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

Shortly before noon on Tuesday, two men smashed the glass case, grabbed the items, and took off running, the Washington Post reported. A spokesperson for the cathedral said that the alarm went off as designed, and security precautions were in place at the time, the Post said.

The thieves then escaped on ladies bicycles and fled to the nearby Maralen lake, which is 74 miles wide and dotted with hundreds of little islands.

An eyewitness told a local news outlet that once they reached the lake, the thieves jumped into a “little white boat.” He also said, “We contacted the police and they told us they had taken something from the cathedral.”

Swedish authorities chased the men using helicopters, but so far have failed to make any arrests. However, police spokesman Thomas Agnevik was optimistic that the difficulty in finding a market for these items would lead to their recovery.

“We have high hopes of getting them back,” he told Swedish media outlets.

This heist comes just six years after $120,000 in jewels were stolen from Sweden's current royal family. In that case, the culprit turned out to be a family friend who was later convicted of the crime.

Wait. Sweden still has a monarch?

Sweden is one of 10 European nations that still have reigning royal families. The other nine are the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Luxembourg.

Vatican City and the tiny nation of Andorra are also a technically monarchies, but with elected monarchs instead of hereditary ones. Most of Europe's monarchs at this point are purely ceremonial or limited to advisory roles.

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