Keys to the Crown Jewels Stolen?

At least, that’s the story:

The locks at the Tower of London, home to the Crown Jewels, had to be
changed after a burglar broke in and stole keys.

The intruder scaled gates and took the keys from a sentry post.

Guards spotted him but couldn’t give chase as they are not allowed to leave their posts.

But the story has been removed from the Mirror’s website. This is the only other link I have. Anyone have any idea if this story is true or not?

ETA (11/14): According to this BBC article, keys for a restaurant, conference rooms, and an internal lock to the drawbridges were on the stolen key set, but the Crown Jewels were never at risk.

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 5:57 AM15 Comments


Peter November 14, 2012 7:33 AM

An earlier report I read said that the Beefeaters couldn’t give chase so they used a walkie-talkie to alert the private security company. That fits with the Guardian’s quote about “the first port of call”.

jokergirl November 14, 2012 7:51 AM

According to other news articles (not sure if they copied the original article or not) the guards are not allowed to give chase but they are allowed to ring a private security company and the police, which later arrived and disturbed the would-be thief.
I find it rather interesting that there is so little published about it as well. I had a hard time even finding the BBC article about it.

Silverwizard November 14, 2012 9:41 AM

I think there real story is here:

The spokeswoman said an internal investigation found that “our well-established security systems and procedures are robust”.

A security company admitting things worked, even after a public breach. That is amazing, but also kind of nice.

EH November 14, 2012 9:07 PM

I would think the entire purpose of a “sentry” is to stay in place but notify others when something happens.

Wee Willie Winkie November 18, 2012 1:01 AM

Oh well, the Royal Family’s Family Jewels are safe. That’s the main consideration for the Beefeaters.

BMT November 18, 2012 3:17 PM

Shades of the medieval detective novel “Crowner Royal” by Bernard Knight, which centers on keys (stolen by copying) to valuables in the Tower.

Erik V. Olson November 20, 2012 12:17 PM

I would think the entire purpose of a “sentry” is to stay in place but notify others when something happens.

Exactly. It is quite literally the very first general order taught to a recruit in the US Army.

US Army General Orders for Sentries:

  1. I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.

Not chasing is exactly correct, because the first incident may very well be intended to pull a sentry away and leave what they were guarding unguarded, allowing a second actor free access.

So, the rule is very clear. You do not chase, because that means you’ve left your post. You call the next guy up the chain, and you maintain your watch.

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.