Saxony: Dresden jewel theft process: Pros and cons of smell

Sniffer dogs should also help in the search for the jewel thieves from the Green Vault in Dresden.

Saxony: Dresden jewel theft process: Pros and cons of smell

Sniffer dogs should also help in the search for the jewel thieves from the Green Vault in Dresden. The results of the mantrailer operations are disputed - they took place very long after the fact.

Dresden (dpa / sn) - Almost a year and a half after the jewel theft from the Dresden Green Vault, according to their dog handlers, two special scent detection dogs have shown traces of two of the six accused suspects in the museum. Videos that were played on Friday during the trial of the spectacular coup at the Dresden Regional Court show how the four-legged friends ran excitedly and wagging their tails through the precious hall and the jewel room in March 2021 after sniffing the fresh scents of suspects who had already been arrested to have.

On the thieves' entry window and on the display case looted in November 2019, they clearly indicated that they had found what they were looking for, as the dog handlers from Schleswig-Holstein - the only federal state with such four-legged specialists - explained as witnesses. But an expert clearly doubts that.

Several investigators involved in the use of the four-legged friends previously provided information on whether search dogs still reliably detect the smell of people in rooms more than a year later and whether the smell samples of the accused are genuine, reliable and meaningful. The defense attorneys had already doubted the value of this evidence at the start of the trial at the end of January and spoke of "the miracle dogs of the Saxon police".

The problem that the crime happened a long time ago was known, according to a commissioner from the Dresden Kripo, who organized the taking of samples from the suspects and "snooping operations" at various crime scenes. At the Saxon service dog school, where four mantrailers for outdoor use came from, "it was estimated that they could still perceive smells for a very long time afterwards".

The 23 to 28-year-old men are charged with aggravated gang theft, arson and particularly aggravated arson. You come from a well-known Arab family in Berlin. The public prosecutor accuses them of having stolen 21 pieces of jewelry with a total of 4,300 diamonds and brilliants with a total value of over 113 million euros from the Treasury Museum in the early morning of November 25, 2019 and of having left property damage of over one million euros. In connection with the coup, they are said to have set fire to a power box in the old town and, among other things, to a getaway car in the underground car park of a residential building.

The investigators explained how the odor samples were taken, that they were kept safe and protected from external influences. When asked by the defense, the dog handlers admitted that traces of smell evaporate outdoors. In rooms, however, they could be retained - in closed areas or areas that cannot be reached during cleaning. Kai-Uwe Goss from the Leipzig Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, who studies the behavior of organic molecules and odors, clearly disagreed.

A search with mantrailer dogs no longer makes sense after 24 hours at the latest, said the scientist. "Odor dissipates relatively quickly once the source is gone." Goss ruled out that the dogs actually still smelled something after such a long time - and spoke of the dog handler's expectations when interpreting the results of "dog work".

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