The stunning heist of a 220-pound gold coin worth more than $4 million dollars from a German museum has bewildered authorities in Berlin and sparked a desperate hunt for the scratch before it is melted down.

The $1 million Canadian coin, known as “Big Maple Leaf,” is one of the world’s largest gold coins. It’s worth $750,000 in the U.S. The value of the gold, however, is closer to $4.5 million.

An official at the Bode Museum discovered the theft early Monday. A ladder was found on nearby railroad tracks, and Berlin police said Tuesday the bandits apparently made off with the coin in a wheelbarrow, rolling it along the train tracks and then lowering it on a rope to a park before fleeing the area by car.

Train service in the heart of Berlin shut down Monday morning during the early hours of the search. Police urged anyone who saw someone outside the museum that morning to come forward. The thieves smashed a museum window and broke into a bullet-proof glass cabinet, authorities said.

Police also asked for tips for anyone attempting to sell large volumes of gold. Art experts have joined the team investigating the crime.

“We are shocked that the burglars have overcome our security systems, which have been successfully protecting our objects for many years,” museum director Michael Eissenhauer said in a statement. “The perpetrators have done a great deal of violence, and we are glad that no personal injury has occurred.”… see more

source: usatoday