Guards saw the thief, but were forbidden to leave their posts and go after him
The Tower of London registers an embarrassing theft on Guy Fawkes night, as one presumably unarmed man manages to steal the keys to the drawbridges, and then gets away unscathed.The Tower is situated on the northern bank of the river Thames, in London, the capital city of England. It is the historic home of the Crown Jewels – crowns, rings, sceptres, swords, all belonging to England's previous monarchs.
Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters, traditionally guard the Tower of London, or Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, as it is officially referred to. Nowadays, the Beefeaters are backed up by a private security contractor. The Crown Jewels are protected by armed guards, at all time.
According to the Daily Mail, the perpetrator climbed over the Front Gate, and even got to reach the fortress where the Crown Jewels are held. He got ahold of the drawbridges keys, which were held in an unguarded metal box.
As guards spotted the thief on his way out, they were forbidden to leave their posts and could not pursue him. They tried radioing in for backup, but it arrived too late and the robber ran away.
The administrators at Historic Royal Palaces organized a press conference to put everyone at ease about the Tower's security.
“It would not have been possible to gain access to the Tower with any of these keys and at no point was the security of the Tower at risk. All affected locks were immediately changed,” their rep says.
However, rumor has it that keys to conference rooms and to the Tower restaurant were on the chain that got stolen. Thousands of pounds were spent on the expedited removal and replacement of the locks.
“We have carried out an internal investigation and have concluded that our well-established security systems and procedures are robust. However on this occasion, these procedures were not carried out to the expected standard. A staff disciplinary procedure is underway to address this issue,” the Historic Royal Palaces spokesman adds.