Stealing Sisi's Star: How A Master Thief Nearly Got Away With Austria's Most Famous Jewel
Stealing Sisi's Star: How a Master Thief Nearly Got Away With Austria's Most Famous Jewel
In June 1998, at the height of Vienna's tourist season, an accomplished thief happened upon the greatest challenge of his young life. While on honeymoon, he spotted the last remaining diamond-and-pearl "Sisi Star," named for its original 19th century owner Empress Elisabeth, on display in Schönbrunn Palace, the Viennese version of Versailles. The ten-pointed star had been one of twenty-seven that the enigmatic Sisi, who was considered one of the most beautiful women of her day, wore in her extravagantly long, lush hair. Despite the multi-layered, high-tech security methods guarding the precious piece of jewelry as it rested on its red velvet pillow, the thief decided then and there that he would use his extraordinary talents to steal it.
The Star would remain hidden some 7,000 miles away until a team of determined Canadian police investigators launched a joint task force to bring down a criminal organization that had robbed banks, stores, and ordinary citizens on several continents. When the chief suspect offered to reveal the surprising whereabouts of the long-forgotten Sisi Star some nine years after it went missing, the officers realized that they were...