In a story reminiscent of a James Bond movie, treasure thieves narrowly escaped arrest by authorities over the weekend after stealing priceless artifacts from a Swedish cathedral. Among the stolen treasures were two jewelled crowns and an orb used by 17th-century Swedish King Karl IX and Queen Kristina. The regalia had previously been stored in the monarchs’ tomb, but was recently placed on display at the Strangnas Cathedral, 60 miles west of Stockholm and on the shore of Lake Mälaren.
The artifacts were displayed in a locked case with an alarm. The Strangnas Cathedral was open to visitors at the time of the theft.
Although police used helicopters and boats to chase the thieves, they escaped via motorboat and remain at large. Law enforcement has asked the public for help in apprehending the bandits, and an international inquiry for the artifacts has been logged with Interpol. One might question the practicality of stealing such treasures, however. Maria Ellior, of the Swedish police’s National Operations Department, told TT, a news organization, that the artifacts are impossible to sell. While that may be true of their present form, they could presumably be melted down, or their beads, crystals, and pearls extracted.