The German department store Kaufhaus des Westens, (often referred to as KaDeWe) situated in Berlin is known for its grandeur and luxury. Opened in 1907, it is the second-largest department store in Europe. Among its high-end clothing, KaDeWe also houses an extensive jewellery department. On Sunday 25th January 2009, the jewellery department was the target of a million euro jewellery heist by three masked men.
The trio climbed onto a second-floor awning, broke open a window and descended from a rope into the store through a skylight. They managed to avoid motion sensors and other security systems whilst breaking into the cabinets and showcases to pocket their loot. Because of their care, it wasn’t until the staff arrived to open on Monday morning that the robbery was discovered.
Along with the rope they descended, they also left behind a single rubber glove that contained DNA in the form of sweat. The DNA pointed to twenty-seven year old identical twins Hassan and Abbas, both of whom already had extensive criminal records. Their full names are confidential until a conviction is secured at trial according to German law. Two weeks after the break-in, the twins were arrested and questioned about their involvement in the heist.
They didn’t say a word and without a confession, the police had to rely on other evidence. Hassan’s lawyer Axel Weimann, said, “Those who remain silent are not necessarily covering up their guilt, but rather simply making use of their constitutional rights.” (abcnews.go.com).
Unfortunately for the police, they were unable to prove which of the twins the DNA came from – although they suspected both twins were there – and subsequently couldn’t take the case any further. Both twins were released from custody within the week.
None of the jewellery or watches stolen that night has been recovered, nor have police been able to identify the third man involved. The case is still open and new evidence could lead to further arrests in the future and even result in the case going to trial. References: abcnews.go.com – nytimes.com – thetimes.co.uk