Stolen £3.3m giant gold coin could have been turned into medallions for RAPPERS: German jewellers linked to hip-hop scene is raided amid fears the coin has been turned into bling
- Large coin worth £3.3m could have been processed into jewellery for rappers
- ‘Big Maple Leaf’ stolen from the Bode Museum, Berlin, in 2017 and still missing
- Raids carried out yesterday on home of eight suspects, aged between 14 and 51
Police raided German jewellers with links to the hip-hop scene yesterday amid fears a rare 220lb gold coin which was stolen from a museum could have been processed into medallions for rappers.
The ‘Big Maple Leaf’, considered the second largest coin in the world and worth £3.3million, has not been found since it vanished from the Bode Museum, Berlin, in 2017.
Homes and shops suspected of being connected to the theft were raided by police on Wednesday morning. One of the suspicious jewellers has links to the rap industry which has lead detectives to their new line of inquiry, Bild reports.
Rap metal dealers? Berlin police conducted raids on several homes and shops on Wednesday morning as investigations continue into the theft of the ‘Big Maple Leaf’ amid fears it could have been melted down into jewellery for rappers
One of the suspicious German jewellers has links to the hip-hop scene. Police were seen taking a man away from a raid yesterday but no arrests were made
The morning raids on Wednesday were focused on eight suspects, aged between 14 and 51, and of various nationalities, police said.
They are alleged to have been part of a ring that obtained stolen gold to melt it down and forge collector coins, then sell them as genuine through jewellery stores operated by them or their relatives.
Some of the counterfeits are already circulating, police said.
The searches led to the discovery of counterfeit coins, forgery tools and a ‘five-digit’ sum of cash, police said.
‘The evaluation of the evidence is ongoing,’ police said.
‘Among other things, a possible connection to the theft of the gold coin from the Bode Museum is being be examined.’
The ‘Big Maple Leaf’, considered the second largest coin in the world and worth £3.3million, and was stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin in 2017
The thieves are alleged to have been part of a ring that obtained stolen gold to melt it down and forge collector coins. Pictured: Raids in Berlin yesterday
Those involved and then believed to have sold them as genuine through jewellery stores operated by them or their relatives. Pictured: Police officers take away a man during raids in Berlin yesterday
Berlin prosecutors said there were no arrests but the investigation is continuing.
The searches came just two days after the arrest of a key suspect in the spectacular theft of 18th-century jewels from a Dresden museum last year, who is from a family linked to the Canadian gold coin theft.
Mohamed Remmo, 21, was arrested by Berlin authorities in a car in the Neukoelln district of the city on Monday evening.
His twin brother, Abdul Majed Remmo, remains a fugitive of the law.
Police and prosecutors would not comment on whether there was a connection between the arrest and the searches.
Members of the same family were convicted earlier this year for the Canadian gold coin theft.
The searches led to the discovery of counterfeit coins, forgery tools and a ‘five-digit’ sum of cash
Berlin police confirmed no arrests had been made but the investigation is continuing
Ahmed Remmo, 21, and his cousin Wissam, 23, were both jailed for four years and six months along with museum security guard Dennis W, 21, who was jailed for three years and four months at a Berlin court in February.
Ahmed Remmo’s brother Wayci, 25, was cleared of all charges.
The Remmo family is said to be notorious for involvement in organised crime.
After the coin was stolen in March 2017, police raids on the premises and around Berlin in July linked the heist to the Remmo ‘clan’ which had saw guns, luxury cars and more than 100,000 euros confiscated.
Investigators also used phone taps and GPS devices to track cars and searched more than 50 properties, the defence said at the trial.
They also recovered a ladder by railway tracks near the museum and a wheelbarrow, which they said were involved in the robbery.
Ahmed Remmo, 21, and his cousin Wissam, 23, (right) were both jailed for four years and six months. Security guard Dennis W, 21, (left) was jailed for three years and four months at a court in Berlin
The searches came just two days after the arrest of a key suspect in the spectacular theft of 18th-century jewels from a Dresden museum last year – the family linked to the Canadian coin theft
Security camera footage of the heist shows three men wearing dark hoodies, scarves and baseball caps making their way to the museum.
They broke in through a window, smashed a glass case with an axe and used a rope, wooden beam and a wheelbarrow to lift the coin onto adjacent elevated urban railway tracks before transferring to a car, said prosecutor Martina Lamb.
The Remmo family, whose patriarchs fled war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s, are considered to be one of Berlin’s most notorious organised crime clans.
Police last year targeted the Remmos with the seizure of 77 properties worth a total of 9.3 million euros, charging that they were purchased with the proceeds of various crimes, including a 2014 bank robbery.
In recent years, so-called ‘clans’ of primarily Middle Eastern origin have become a particular focus for police, politics and media in Berlin.
A popular fictional TV series, 4 Blocks, has even focused on a crime family in the capital’s Neukoelln district.
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