Hunt for cathedral raiders who seized Sweden's crown jewels

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In what looks more like a Hollywood movie plot than real-word crime news, crowns belonging to two 17th-century members of the Swedish royal family - King Karl (Charles) IX and Queen Kristina (Christina) - were stolen by two perpetrators as they raided a church in the country's southeast.

Karl IX - youngest son of King Gustav I - was king from 1604 until 1611. "We have spoken to witnesses, but we are interested in further information from anyone that has made any observations", he said.

Two suspects have been seen fleeing the cathedral on a motorboat and police are now hunting them in a major river chase.

"I saw the boat was there, a white little boat with a motor on the back".

'The two men hurriedly jumped on board.

Police immediately began to search for the thieves by boat and in helicopters but were unable to capture them.

".these are invaluable objects of national interest". There will be pictures in the media.

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A police spokesperson Thomas Agnevik said: "We are looking for a small and open motorboat".

Similar heists have occurred before.

In 2013, 16th-century copies of King Johan III's crown, orb and scepter were stolen from the cathedral in the central Swedish city of Vasteras, 60 miles west of the capital Stockholm, during a nighttime burglary. It was recovered several days later in a garbage bag left on a countryside road, following an anonymous tip.

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.

Christofer Lundgren, dean of the cathedral, said: 'This is part of the national cultural heritage - this is a theft from Swedish society'.

"These are royal regalia that belong to the Kingdom of Sweden, totally unique objects that are of enormous immaterial value", he told daily Dagens Nyheter. They were later exhumed and put on display.

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