Finding wrecks of the Spanish treasure fleet has long been the dream of many explorers, archeologists and would-be treasure hunters.
The ships convoyed treasure between the New World and Spain and included everything from timber, to silver, gold, gems, pearls, spices, sugar, tobacco and silk.
Treasure thieves however, gave themselves up to the police, recently in Madrid, Spain, when their partnership turned nasty.
The gardener, of a derelict mansion in the Catalan interior, broke into the home of his partners in crime and stole Euro 4.5 million worth of jewels and antiques. When a fight erupted, the two young Romanian thieves gave themselves up for arrest.
The nosy part-time gardener had peered through the windows of the derelict mansion and discovered a glittering collection of antique treasure displayed in glass cases. He apparently came up with the idea of breaking in to take a closer look.
Tthe thieves had no idea of the value of their haul. “These were inexperienced, common crooks who thought they were breaking into an old uninhabited house in the countryside,” a police spokesman said.
The 12th century family treasure, worth around Euro 300 million, was kept in a run-down country home, by wealthy aristocrat, 65 year old Jaume Grau-Pla.
A home he only visited during the summer and at weekends. He believed no one would suspect the old house would contain a fortune.
“Only those who had been inside the house knew what was kept there. Many of the things are invaluable. No amount of money could replace them,” said Grau-Pla.