The burglars came on Tuesday night. They broke into the Kelten-Römer Museum in Manching near Ingolstadt and stole the gold treasure kept there from the Celtic oppidum Manching from the first century BC. All 483 gold coins fell into their hands.
The gold treasure is the flagship and most valuable exhibit of the museum, which opened in 2006. It is also the largest Celtic gold hoard found in the 20th century. The coins were discovered in 1999 on the site of the Manching oppidum, a large settlement founded by Celts in the late La Tène period around 300 BC, which was inhabited until around 30 BC. It was probably the capital of the Celtic tribe of Vindeliker.
Settlement reached its peak in the middle of the second century BC, when the first city wall was built. At that time between five and ten thousand people lived in the Manching oppidum. Its end may have been heralded by the collapse of the northern Alpine economic system following Caesar’s conquest of Gaul by 50 BC. The Roman occupiers later founded a road station in almost the same place, which they named Vallatum.
Telephone lines were sabotaged
The Manching hoard consists of 483 domed and uninscribed golden shell staters. These are restrikes of a Greek coin shape by Celtic tribes. The hoard also includes a 217 gram gold nugget. The commercial value of the items is estimated at around 1.6 million euros. The Bavarian Minister of Education, Markus Blume, spoke of a treasure of “unique cultural and historical value”.
The burglary in the Kelten-Römer-Museum was “classic”, “as you would imagine in a bad film”, explained an employee of the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office. The investigators see a connection with the sabotage of several fiber optic lines, which led to the loss of telephone and Internet connections for thirteen thousand private and corporate customers around Manching on Tuesday night. In this way, there was no alarm at the responsible police.
The burglary only lasted nine minutes, said the Vice President of the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office, Guido Limmer, at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. The perpetrator or perpetrators pried open an outer escape door and left the building at 1:35 a.m. The competent public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into serious gang robbery. The specially established special commission of the LKA bears the name “Oppidum”.
According to the investigators, the thieves would find it difficult to sell their robbery in its current form. It is therefore to be feared that they could melt down the coins and sell them at gold value. The Bavarian police have contacted their colleagues in Dresden and Berlin, where museums have also been broken into in recent years. Numerous unique pieces of jewelery from the collection of the Saxon electors and kings were stolen from the Dresden Green Vault, as well as the 100-kilogram “Big Maple Leaf” gold coin from the Bode Museum in Berlin. So far, none of the objects have surfaced again.