At around 3:20am on Tuesday the 27-year-old unnamed man set off a security alarm in a camera shop next to the Gothic masterpiece, Die Welt reported on Tuesday.
A few minutes later police officers arrived on the scene to find a man ransacking the display cabinets, said the paper. When the man saw the police, he escaped out of a window.
Once outside, the suspected thief hurried into a construction lift at the cathedral, ignoring police demands to freeze.
Thinking he might escape that way, the man climbed onto the scaffolding on the cathedral, but was caught and arrested by police shortly after.
The fire service was called in to bring the man safely back down to earth – where he was handcuffed in a truck.
Police told the paper they believed the suspect had got into the shop through a skylight and forced open the display cabinets and cupboards.
When he was discovered, the man had already stashed 21 valuable cameras and had put his haul behind the shop ready for his getaway.
The man, who is known to the police for other offences, admitted to the break-in during questioning.