'Rhino horn gang' strikes in Germany

2012-02-21 22:11

Berlin - A gang of four has carried out an "unbelievably audacious" theft of rhino horns worth €50 000, German police said on Tuesday, the latest in what appears to be a spate of similar robberies.

As two of the suspected thieves distracted staff at a museum in Offenburg, south-western Germany, the other two clambered on a display case, removed a rhino head from a wall and smashed off the horns with hammers, police said.

"Then everything happened in the blink of an eye," police said in a statement.

"The two men stuffed the horns into a bag and left the museum. At the same time, the other two lost interest in their chat with staff members and followed their accomplices," the statement added.

The rhino head was left behind during the suspected robbery, which happened on Saturday afternoon, according to authorities.

Rhinoceros horn is especially prized in Asia where many consider it to have aphrodisiac and disease-fighting properties.

The perpetrators "acted with unbelievable audacity", the police said, adding: "The way they carried it out leads one to believe that this is an international, well-organised group."

Similar thefts have occurred throughout Europe, with some museums taking the unusual step of replacing their rhino horns with fake ones to deter robberies.

Rhino horns can fetch between €25 000 and €200 000 depending on their size.

  • Hallo - 2012-02-21 22:23


  • braamc - 2012-02-22 07:09

    Welcome to our world where almost two of these animals gets killed daily

  • jennifer.marlton - 2012-02-22 07:52

    Perhaps one should add to the end of this story that it has been proved that rhino horn has none of these properties seems it is in essence made of hair. So people believing these traditions could in fact eat their own hair and get the same result. Incidents like this will hopefully help the rest of the world realise how severe the problem is though and then maybe we can get some help.

  • Brian - 2012-02-22 12:07

    What's the point? Real men know how to use it without the need for "rhino Horn"

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