Jewel Heist: ‘It’s like creating a crime’

FifthFrom the first moment it is clear that this is not an ordinary criminal procedure. The juvenile chamber of Dresden County Court meets in a maximum security room right next to the prison. In front of the door are riot police cars, as well as two civilian patrols in Berlin. Six detectives stare at visitors at the entrance to the building in search of family members.

Family, this is Remmos. The clan has a dubious reputation in Berlin. Six young men belonging to the family are on trial in Dresden. They are said to have stolen priceless jewels from the Green Vault on November 25, 2019, the 18th century Saxon state treasury, a kind of holy shrine for the Free State. The whole country mourned when the diamonds disappeared. And the judiciary is pretty grim in the process: anyone who wants to enter as a visitor has to take off their shoes and feel their feet. Better safe than sorry.

The Ramus family employs the Berlin Police like any other clan. Two alleged thieves accused in Dresden have been convicted of stealing a 100-kilogram gold coin from the Bode Museum in Berlin. If the allegations of the prosecution are true, they carried out the two coups in Dresden between the days of the hearing, including several reconnaissance flights.

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Theft in the Green Vault

In the indictment, the prosecutor explains how this is supposed to happen: the six young men are said to have decided at an “unknown time before November 25, 2019” to steal the jewelry from the Green Vault. To do this, they purchased two high-powered cars, the Mercedes 500 and the Audi A6, which were supposed to serve as getaway vehicles. The registrations of the two cars were canceled to thwart the owner’s investigation. They removed the license plates of the stolen cars. They wrapped the Mercedes in ivory foil and a yellow taxi sign on the roof.

Several times prior to the actual burglary, the accused traveled to Dresden at night to prepare for the robbery. Once the power distribution box was set up, they again spread a piece of iron mesh to protect the basement window.

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And almost everything went wrong. During one of the preliminary flights, the suspect’s car was examined by the police. Only through a perilous maneuver and a run, during which the men were racing through the city center at more than 120 kilometers per hour, were they able to escape from the police. The police stopped the chase due to the high risk. Then, would-be thieves changed the Audi’s color from blue to silver, prosecutors said.

Then came November 25, 2019. And two days before that, the perpetrators were in the castle for their last examination. At 3:53 a.m. that night, they reached the power box at an Elbe level house, poured oil and gasoline over it and set the mixture on fire. The fire caused a short circuit that paralyzed the lighting around the castle. At 4:22 a.m., according to the indictment, Muhammad and Wissam Rammo opened the window sash with hydraulic pliers, climbed downstairs, and deliberately ran into the showcases and destroyed them with a total of 56 axe strikes.

Then they tore the jewels from their anchors, put them in the bag they brought with them, and disappeared. They escaped out of town in an Audi, parked the car in an underground garage and set it on fire with five liters to cover their tracks. They left hydraulic tongs and two firearms in the car.

14 lawyers defended six defendants

A total of 14 lawyers are concerned with the rights of the six Ramos family, who should therefore be considered well-protected. The defense attorneys proved on the first day that they wanted to separate the prosecutor’s “working hypothesis” little by little in this trial.

One band member complained that the term “clan” alone was a disgrace. The families are alleged to be “closed buildings” and reject the “local legal system”. The defense attorney said that the trials of the defendants, who were still adolescents in the legal sense at the time the crimes were committed, should be separated and held behind closed doors in order to “create an atmosphere suitable for young people”. This will be possible if the court comes to the conclusion that it is in the best interests of the teenagers.

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defense attorney beinken

Defense attorney Enas Kilian agreed that the trial was not a “terror trial”. She accused the public prosecutor of withholding important parts of the file from lawyers. Defense attorneys also repeatedly responded to the WELT AM SONNTAG report, which said investigators had another 40 suspects in sight. “It’s like six out of 46 here, a little bit,” Killian joked. “The process is like a thriller where the script is constantly changing.”

Dresden defender Stefan Brunzel made the most original request. He referred to a provision in the Youth Criminal Code to appoint a woman and a man as ordinary judges. This violates the Basic Law and the case law of the Constitutional Court, since it introduced the so-called “miscellaneous” third type by decision in 2019. Now the highest court must first check whether the ruling on ordinary judges does not violate the Basic Law – and the Dresden Court will have to “suspend” The hearing until then, which means the proceedings would have collapsed. One of the rulers could not help but smile.

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And otherwise? It became clear that the defenders would attack three points of evidence. On the other hand, they doubt the possibility of clearly identifying the people in the surveillance camera images. The Public Prosecution has prepared expert opinions for this purpose. On the other hand, there are DNA traces of varying quality and it will not clearly prove that the trace got there at the time of the break-in. And thirdly, lawyers are wondering whether the sniffer dogs of the Saxon police, called mantrailers, are really able to “spot” the presence of suspicious individuals – they were deployed only several months after the burglary. This is “false evidence,” according to attorney Frank Browner. It is about “criminal esotericism and lateral thinking”.

“The allegations are baseless,” says the lawyer.

Many lawyers were left open as to whether their clients would comment on the course of the proceedings. However, some demanded the acquittal of those who protected them on the first day. “Bashir Ramo has nothing to do with the crimes,” his lawyer, Michael Nagel, said. “The allegations are baseless and will be exonerated.”

Incidentally, Nagel said, his client could not do anything about his origins – he gave the following description of the circumstances: “He was born into an extended Arab family. He is proud of his family, he loves them and will not let anything come their way. “

A trial is scheduled for October.


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