September 15, 2009

‘Unique’ stolen jewelry dumped in Sardinia

Much of the jewelry stolen from a Saudi princess last month was found Tuesday dumped near the Sardinian hotel where the heist took place, Italian police said.

Investigators said the thieves probably found themselves saddled with jewelry worth $16 million that they were unable to sell because the pieces are unique and known through catalogs, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The theft occurred on the night of Aug. 5 at the Hotel Colonna. The thieves pried a strongbox or small safe off a wall and made off with it.

The safe was found in August in a dump with a few loose gems inside.

Police said the jewelry discovered Tuesday was about three-quarters of what was stolen. They said investigators are getting close to the perpetrators.

Break-ins have occurred at a number of hotels and villas on the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia and at the mainland resort of Portofino.