Suspects Arrested in Connection to $4 Million Gold Coin Heist

Berlin police Big Maple Leaf

Berlin police Big Maple Leaf

German police on Wednesday arrested two suspects in the March theft of a 220-pound, 21-inch diameter gold coin from a Berlin museum, they said.

About 300 police commandos arrested the men, aged between 18 and 20, in raids on 13 buildings in the Neukölln district of Berlin.

But they found no sign of the loot - Canada's "Big Maple Leaf" coin, which has a face value of one million Canadian dollars and is estimated to be worth 3.75 million euros (USD 4.3 million) on the gold market.

It was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest gold coin in 2008.

Last week, police released CCTV footage of suspects at a local train station.

"We assume that the coin was sold, either complete or in parts", Carsten Pfohl, a spokesman for the Berlin state criminal office, said at the news conference.

The investigators found a deep impact mark below the tracks, suggesting that the coin was dropped and likely damaged. He added that police also confiscated clothes and cars to comb for traces of gold. The authorities also searched a neighborhood jewelry store that might have been involved in selling the gold.

Police were unable to provide information about the whereabouts of the coin.

The coin, which has an image of Queen Elizabeth II on one side and maple leaves on the other, was on loan from a private, unidentified person, dpa reported.

At least two burglars broke into the museum at night on March 27, using a ladder to climb to a window from elevated railway tracks. They then transported the coin in a wheelbarrow to the other side of the river where they loaded it into a vehicle and drove away.

"It is 100 kilos, made by the Canadian Mint, and is of high purity", Bernhard Weisser, director of the museum's coin department, said in an interview.

In July, police published still photos made from surveillance video asking the public for help in finding the thieves who had stolen the coin from the museum.

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