This story sounds like something out of “Ocean’s Eleven” or a similar action movie. However, in this case, no one is rooting for the baddies. A couple of thieves snatched up Sweden’s priceless crown jewels from the cathedral in Strängnäs in southeastern Sweden. The thieves then escaped the scene in a motorboat at around lunchtime on Tuesday.

Among the items stolen were King Karl IX and Queen Kristina’s royal crowns, along with a precious orb. As reported by The Local in Sweden, the items had been on public display in the cathedral.

Robbers escape the scene of the crime in a motorboat

The Telegraph cites the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet as quoting a witness to the incident. The interview was in English and can be heard below. The man said one of his friends had seen two people running from the cathedral. He then spotted a little white boat with an outboard motor on the back. The two men quickly jumped on board the boat. The witness said he and his friends contacted the police, who told them the two men had stolen something from the cathedral.

According to Thomas Agnevik, a police spokesman, a police hunt was launched, using motorboats and helicopters. The spokesman said the stolen items were priceless. Speaking to Aftonbladet Agnevik said it was 1-0 to the thieves right now.

Agnevik said he had spoken to an employee at the county administrative board who told him it is impossible to place an economic value on the lost royal crowns and orb, as they are priceless and are also invaluable objects of national interest in the country.

Stolen items part of national cultural heritage

The dean of the Strängnäs Cathedral, Christofer Lundgren, said the items were part of the country’s national cultural heritage and that this was a theft from Swedish society itself.

The Telegraph reports that the king and queen’s crowns date from the reign of King Karl IX, who ruled over the country from 1604 to 1611. The king’s wife, Queen Kristina, was made Queen Regent when he died in October 1611. Queen Kristina didn’t hold the crown for very long as two years later, her son reached legal age and became King Gustav II Adolf.

As reported by The Local, their recent history relates to the crowns forming a part of the funeral regalia of King Charles IX, Gustav’s son who was buried in the Strängnäs Cathedral. Both crowns are made from solid gold and the king’s crown was also decorated with silver, pearls and jewels. Both are considered priceless. The items had been locked in a display cabinet with an alarm. Police are asking any members of the public who have information about the theft to come forward.

This isn’t the first time priceless royal treasures have been stolen in Sweden. Back in 2013 thieves stole the funerary crown and scepter of King Johan III in the city of Västerås. However, police got lucky in that case, as the treasures were eventually discovered in two rubbish bags on the side of a highway after police received a tip-off.