ultrafacts: It’s an idea beloved by screenwriters: the perfect…


It’s an idea beloved by screenwriters: the perfect crime. But in Hollywood movies, even the cleverest plot is usually derailed by an unforeseen hitch. Now a real-life heist in Germany seems to have flouted that rule along with its moral subtext that crime doesn’t pay. In January 2009, $6.8 million worth of jewelry was snatched from the cases of Kaufhaus des Westens, a luxurious seven-story department store universally known as KaDeWe and as much a Berlin landmark as the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate. Three masked, gloved thieves were caught on surveillance cameras sliding down ropes from the store’s skylights, outsmarting its sophisticated security system.

That night they got away, but they did leave evidence: DNA, found in a drop of sweat on a latex glove discarded next to a rope ladder used to reach the ground floor. Police ran the material through the German crime database. And they got a hit — two in fact.


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