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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 29, July 16, 2017, Article 8

ARRESTS MADE IN THEFT OF BIG MAPLE LEAF

Howard Berlin (the Numismatourist) was the first reader to report seeing the news that police in Berlin (the city) had made arrests in the case of the theft of the gigantic 100-kilo gold coin from the Bode museum. Thanks. Thanks also to Dick Hanscom and others who forwarded articles. -Editor

Big Maple Leaf Several people have been arrested in Berlin in connection with the spectacular heist in March of a 100-kilo gold coin from a museum in the city. The "Big Maple Leaf" is estimated to be worth several million euros.

Berlin police launched raids on multiple locations in the city on Wednesday, deploying a SWAT team and making several arrests linked to the spectacular robbery on the Bode museum in March. While authorities confirmed that arrests had been made, they did not provide any details on the suspects.

The majority of the raided homes were in the district of Neukölln, an area with a large immigrant population, a police spokesman said. However, there was still "no decisive information" on the location of the coin.

Police had previously speculated that the 100-kilogram (221 pound) coin could have been melted away and divided into smaller chunks.

As DW reported in late March, the group of thieves likely broke into Berlin's Bode Museum from an elevated section of tram tracks which run alongside the museum walls. Security footage from a nearby stop shows three masked perpetrators. They allegedly placed a ladder on the tracks to reach a window and gain entry to the building. They then smashed the glass display case and rolled the 53-centimeter (21-inch) coin outside.

According to the investigators, the thieves then loaded the coin into a wheelbarrow and wheeled it across a railway bridge to the other side of the river Spree. They then climbed off the tracks on a rope and loaded the coin into a car.

The investigators found a deep impact mark below the tracks, suggesting that the coin was dropped and likely damaged. The police also found the rope, the ladder and the wheelbarrow as well a burning Mercedes in an underground car park.

To read the complete article, see:
Berlin police make arrests over giant gold coin theft (http://www.dw.com/en/berlin-police-make-arrests-over-giant-gold-coin-theft/a-39651466)

Howard also sent this article from The Guardian. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

A spokesperson confirmed newspaper reports that the suspects arrested at two properties in the Neukölln district were members of an “Arabic-Kurdish clan” known to investigators in connection with drug smuggling, arms trading and racketeering.

The Berlin state office of criminal investigations tracked down the suspects through DNA evidence.

With a diameter of 53cm and 3cm thick, the Big Maple Leaf coin is one of only five pure gold commemorative pieces issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007.

Its whereabouts remains unclear. Police suspect the robbers may have melted the coin down at the earliest opportunity.

“The trick used by such criminals is that they add, for example, a little bit of copper to the molten gold in order to change the purity levels and cover their tracks,” an investigator told Die Welt newspaper.

Howard adds:

Pictured on the back of my book is the same coin when it was in the museum in Vienna.

Big Maple Leaf at Vienna Museum

To read the complete article, see:
German police make arrests over €4m gold coin heist (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/12/german-police-make-arrests-over-4m-gold-coin-heist)

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
POLICE RELEASE VIDEO OF BIG MAPLE LEAF THIEVES (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n28a14.html)
NEW BOOK: THE NUMISMATOURIST (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n31a03.html)

Thanks also to Bruce Perdue and others who forwarded this story. -Editor

To read the complete articles, see:
Arrests made in heist of massive $1M gold Canadian coin (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/coin-heist-arrest-1.4200761)
How Berlin's Lebanese mafia clans work (http://www.dw.com/en/how-berlins-lebanese-mafia-clans-work/a-39679398)

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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