UPDATE: Fitz CCTV Released
UPDATE: The Museum’s silent alarm system was not linked to the police.
UPDATE 1st May, 7pm:
Police this afternoon released CCTV pictures of four men who police want to speak to in connection with robbery, amid new calls for information.
The video, which shows four hooded men walking towards the back of the museum, will be broadcast on BBC 1’s Crimewatch tonight.
The suspects enter the back of the Museum
Alongside the new footage Det Chief Supt Karen Daber again called for anyone with any knowledge of the men to come forward. In a statement she said “I would urge anyone who recognises any of these men to contact police.”
However, the chances of catching the thieves seem as bleak as ever, with the images appearing blurred and the men’s faces covered.
Anyone with any information can call (01480) 428066 from 8am-8pm. At other times, call 101.
UPDATE 20th April, 12pm:
It has been revealed that the Museum’s silent alarm system was not linked to the police.
A silent alarm, which requires special dispensation from the police, means that burglars can be caught unawares.
However, this particular alarm only notified the University’s security staff, and by the time they had contacted the police the thieves had left the building with the precious items.
The silent nature of the alarm also left passers by oblivious to the theft, again easing the escape route for the intruders.
The university has already pledged to review its security measures.
The Fitzwilliam Museum has been devastated by a raid that saw £18 million worth of Chinese jade carvings snatched by thieves.
Cambridge have called for a “thorough review of our security measures” after the 18 works of art were stolen from the Fitz.
Robbers took the high-value objects, some of which date back to the 14th century, in a break in on Friday night. It is currently thought to be the work of a “highly-organised crime ring”.
Priceless: Were the artifacts snatched by professional criminals?
It is not yet known how the group were able to get inside the famous museum two hours after closing, but the Fitz has ruled out the idea of an ‘inside job’.
A spokesman for the museum described the items, which were part of the permanent collection, as “a highly important part of our collection,” and called the theft “a great blow”.
While original estimates of the objects’ value stand at £18 million, a university spokesman said the museum had a policy of never pricing artifacts, so in reality they could sell for much more in an inflated market.
And there are fears that the theft may have been performed by a professional crime ring, after similar objects worth £1.8 million, were stolen from Durham University just two weeks earlier. Police arrested and bailed 5 people in response.
It is thought that if the items are not recovered they are likely to be sold on the Chinese black market.
Cops have called for help with their enquiries. Heading the investigation (named Operation Tundra) to recover the priceless artifacts is Detective Chief Superintendent Karen Daber.
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In a statement, she said “In particular, we are keen to hear from anyone who may have been in or around the Fitzwilliam Museum between 6pm and 8pm and may have heard or seen anything unusual or suspicious”.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111. Information can also be reported by email at: [email protected]?uk