Burglary Green Vault Dresden
A police car is standing in front of the residence castle with the Green Vault. Dresden's Treasury Green Vault was broken into early in the morning. The break-in affects the historical part of the valuable collection.
| Credit: picture alliance/Getty Images

On Monday, thieves broke into the vault at Dresden’s Royal Palace in Germany and somehow made off with an estimated $1 billion worth of famous jewels.

"This is an attack on the cultural identity of all Saxons and the state of Saxony," Roland Woeller, a local politician, told reporters after the heist.

The Jewel Room in the Historic Green Vault in the Dresden Palace of the Dresden State Art Collections
The Jewel Room in the Historic Green Vault in the Dresden Palace of the Dresden State Art Collections
| Credit: picture alliance/Getty Images

As CNN reported, the thieves entered what is known as the Green Vault on Monday, which happens to house one of the largest collections of masterpieces, including jewelry, ornaments, and decorations in Europe. Thankfully, CNN reported, one of the most famous pieces in the collection, a 41-carat green diamond known as the Dresden Green, was not in the vault at the time. It is currently on loan and on display at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Security video showed two of the bandits breaking in through a grilled window, according to Reuters. The alarm to the vault then sounded just before 5 a.m. local time. When police arrived five minutes, later the men — and the jewels — were gone.

“Two suspects can be seen on the recordings, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other accomplices,” police spokesman Volker Lange told reporters. He noted there was also a power failure in the neighborhood at the time, and police found a burned-out car, although he couldn’t confirm if the events were connected.

Though some estimated the goods to be worth that $1 billion figure, Marion Ackermann, the director of Dresden’s State Art Collections, told reporters it may be impossible to put a number on the artifacts.

“We are talking here about items of inestimable art historical and cultural-historical value,” Ackermann said, according to The New York Post. “We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell. The material value doesn’t reflect the historic meaning.”

Though things seem dire right now, Woeller added, “We will do everything in our power not only to bring the cultural treasures back, but to capture the perpetrators.”