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Qatari-owned jewels stolen in audacious Venice heist
Collana di rubini di Nawanagar Cartier, 1937. Platino, rubini, diamanti, h. 20,5 cm, largh. 19,5 cm © The Al Thani Collection.


ROME (AFP).- Thieves made off with several items of Indian maharajahs' treasures owned by a member of the Qatari royal family after an audacious heist Wednesday at the Doge's palace in Venice, police said.

Italian authorities investigating the theft put at around a million euros ($1.2 million) the overall value of the collection of Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs on display.

Two thieves got away with earrings and a brooch on the final day of a four-month exhibition covering some 270 items showcasing five centuries of Indian craftsmanship.

Investigators said the pair had managed to take the items from a reinforced display case after deactivating the alarm system before melting into the crowd and making good their escape.

The alarm was raised only several hours later at the palace, known as the Palazzo Ducale in Italy, in central Venice at one end of Saint Mark's Square.

"We are clearly dealing here with two skilled professionals who managed to pull off their feat despite all the display rooms being fitted with technologically highly sophisticated (alarm) systems," chief police commissioner Vito Gagliardi said.

The collection was assembled by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani and now belongs to Qatar's ruling family.


© Agence France-Presse






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