The raid took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Lund, southern Sweden, and a forensic team from Skåne police are presently investigating the scene to see what has gone missing.
“Right now the police have cordoned off the scene so we can’t do an inventory until they are finished. We will know what has been stolen when the forensic unit has completed itswork,” Per Gustafson, head of security with Lund University told The Local.
The Historical Museum in Lund, which opened in 1805, is the second largest archaeological museum in the country and has precious artifacts from the Viking era in its collection. It also has the largest coin collection in Sweden.
Staff at the museum were alerted to the theft when the alarm was sounded at 2.45 am and police were quickly on the scene. The raiders had already fled by the time the authorities arrived.
“The thieves got in through a window on the first floor which they used a lot of strength to remove and which subsequently broke,” said Gustafson who added that it was the first theft at the museum since the 1950s.
Back in 2009 thieves made off with 500 Viking era silver artifacts which were plundered from a site of archaeological interest on the Baltic island of Gotland. Three men were subsequently arrested for the theft.
The head of security at Lund said it’s impossible to put an estimated value on the stolen items.
“You can’t discuss any value as these items don’t go on sale as they are part of our cultural heritage,” he said
Gustafson added that he wasn’t surprised that the raid had taken place.
“People will do whatever it takes to get what they want these days. That is the world we live in,” he said.
The museum will remain closed while the investigation is ongoing.