Thieves Steal Qatari Sheik's Jewels 'Worth Millions' From Venice Show

Thieves on Wednesday, January 3, made off with jewelry worth millions of euros which was on display in Venice's Doge's Palace, police said.

At least two thieves are thought to have entered the exhibition of Indian and Indian-inspired gems and artifacts owned by Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah al-Thani, mixing with other visitors.

Then, while one kept watch, the other opened the display case and grabbed a jeweled golden brooch and a pair of earrings.

The thieves, who police said appeared to have been part of a larger gang, seemed to have been able to delay the museum's alarm system which only sounded when they were already escaping.

"We are certainly dealing with very skilled professionals, who got away with it even though the building and the rooms were kitted out with very advanced technological systems," the canal city's police commissioner Vito Gagliardi said.

Al-Thani collection
Jeweled objects are on display during a press preview of an exhibition titled 'Treasures from India, Jewels from the Al-Thani collection' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on October 27, 2014. At least two thieves grabbed a jeweled golden brooch and a pair of earrings during an exhibition of the jewels in Venice. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

The jewelry, which included diamonds, gold and platinum, had been assigned a customs value of just 30,000 euros ($36,084; £26,691), but they were really worth "a few million euros", Gagliardi said.

Investigators sent photos of the stolen items to London, where their owners are, so that they can be identified and priced, news agency Ansa reported.

Wednesday was the last day for the show, entitled "Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs".

It was the first time the jewels had been on display in Italy, according to local media.

The Doge's Palace website described the collection as: "Dazzling gems, precious stones and jewels brimming with centuries of history and legend, together with historic and contemporary creations take us on a journey through five centuries of sheer beauty and remarkable craftsmanship charting the glorious tradition of Indian jewellery: from the descendants of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane to the great Maharajas, whose lavish jewellery commissions in the 20th century produced stunning and innovative works from the European jewellery houses."

Investigators are viewing footage from CCTV cameras, hoping they will be able to identify the thieves.

They believe it will be hard to sell the jewels on the black market as they are too well known, and gems may be removed from the items and sold separately.