STOCKHOLM • The thieves who made off with two 17th century royal crowns and an orb from a Swedish cathedral were still at large yesterday, a day after they fled by motorboat from the scene of their daring midday heist .
The hunt for the jewels and the thieves - who have not been identified - is being conducted internationally via Interpol, said Swedish police spokesman Stefan Dangardt.
He added that the objects were a "national treasure" and would likely be "very difficult to sell".
The gold burial crowns, dating back to 1611, belonged to King Karl IX and his wife Queen Christina, and were originally interred with the couple. They were later exhumed and put on display in a locked cabinet in Strangnas Cathedral, located 100km west of Stockholm. The king's crown is made of gold, with crystals and pearls, while the queen's is smaller and made of gold, precious stones and pearls.
Said Mr Dangardt: "We have, as yet, no value of the stolen goods, except that it is a national treasure. Several people were seen leaving the church by boat or water-scooter after the theft.
"We have spoken to witnesses, but we are interested in further information from anyone who has made any observations."
Mr Tom Rowsell, who was having lunch outside the cathedral where he is to be married this weekend, told the Aftonbladet daily that he saw two men dash from the building towards a motorboat waiting on Lake Malaren. "I knew immediately they were burglars because of the way they were behaving," he said.
The theft occurred just before noon on Tuesday, and police quickly had helicopters, patrols, and search dogs looking for the thieves but their efforts have so far proved fruitless, Mr Dangardt said.
The perpetrators of Tuesday's heist face up to six years in prison for aggravated theft.