Thieves Steal Swedish Crown Jewels Before Fleeing By Speedboat

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In a plot that could have come out of a heist movie, two men on Tuesday raided a Swedish cathedral and stole a set of 17th-century crown jewels, before fleeing the crime scene on a speedboat, according to police and Swedish news outlets.

Swedish Police said in a statement they've deployed helicopters and boats to search for the pair, who sped off in a motorboat into the vast system of lakes west of Stockholm.

The jewels were kept in a locked and alarmed glass display, and it remains unclear how exactly the thieves broke into it.

The police have issued vague descriptions of the thieves: one is said to be skinny and wearing a light beige jacket with dark long trousers.

Tourist Tom Roswell said he saw the gang jump into a little white boat and race off into Lake Malaren, one of the largest in the country.

Police have appealed to the public for any information that may lead to the men's arrest.

Talking to the Sydsvenskan newspaper, church dean Christofer Lundgren said the items were insured, but stressed that the cultural value of the treasures is bigger than their material value. Thomas Agnevik, a police spokesman, told Swedish TV that the regalia were "invaluable objects of national interest".

Strangnas is a small, quiet town with a population of about 13,000. The cathedral's red-brick tower with a black top can be seen from kilometers (miles) around.

The crown jewels were on display in Strangnas Cathedral situated 100 kilometers from Stockholm.

Police and cathedral officials said they did not know the value of the objects that were stolen.

Rowell, the witness, is getting married at the cathedral next weekend. "It's despicable that people would steal from a holy building and a historical building".