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Cops spied on each other to nab loo roll thief
Photo: DPA

Cops spied on each other to nab loo roll thief

Published: 18 Jan 2013 11:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Jan 2013 11:54 GMT+01:00

German criminal police who used hidden cameras for 18 months to try to find a toilet paper thief in their own office were probably breaking the law, it has emerged.

Reports have been filtering through into public over the last few weeks about internal investigations in Thuringia's state criminal police (LKA) into the mysterious disappearance of the loo roll.

Now, Der Spiegel reported on Friday, LKA president Werner Jakstat has ordered an internal investigation into the investigation.

Specialists were tasked to install a hidden camera in the stairwell near the toilets of the LKA building in Ilmkreis near Erfurt - the kind of cameras normally used to watch suspected terrorists, gang members or drug dealers.

An intelligence officer was even assigned to analyse the footage captured on the loo roll camera.

This continued for one-and-a-half years, finally being wound down in May 2011, the magazine said. Not only that, the state prosecutor in Erfurt knew about it, the magazine said.

Broadcaster MDR reported it had now seen confidential documents from the LKA's own lawyers suggesting the secret surveillance was not legitimate.

The theft of toilet paper would not justify any sort of secret surveillance, the lawyers said. Operation toilet roll was also likely an abuse of the system.

Even if there had been a legitimate reason for the efforts, they would have required approval from a judge within three days - and this plainly was not the case.

There is even disagreement about where the cameras were installed - although the LKA told MDR Thüringen the operation was restricted to the ground floor of the stairwell, the documents of the internal lawyers talk of the toilet areas also being watched.

The two police trade unions have since sent a collection of demands to Thuringian state Interior Minster Jörg Geibert. They are calling for an independent commission to check the legality of the operation.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:02 January 18, 2013 by iseedaftpeople
hm... reminds me of that old joke headline...

"Toilet bowls stolen from police station - Cops have nothing to go on"
12:07 January 18, 2013 by BobbyBaxter
The Keystone Cops....
13:15 January 18, 2013 by pepsionice
If no judge approved it....there's going to be a problem. Even if the judge did approve it....he'll be laughed at for years to come.
13:18 January 18, 2013 by jg.
If they have the manpower and other resources to do this, they clearly have more manpower and resources than needed and could take a cut in their budget.
16:34 January 18, 2013 by raandy
I wonder how many rolls you could buy for all the man hours and equipment that were used in solving this serious crime, thats correct Bobby "Keystone Cops"
17:12 January 18, 2013 by catjones
A recent TED video on DIY biotech, someone decided to investigate which dog was poopin on the sidewalk. They threw tennis balls to the local dogs (to collect saliva samples) and samples of the poop to use DNA to find the culprit. Can you guess the nationality?
04:16 January 19, 2013 by US-TommyBoy
The cops were so busy trying to catch the "Bathroom Bandit" they did not have enough time to the "Tunneling Tricksters" who broke the bank.

By the way, the reference to the Keystone Cops is demeaning and hurtful.....to the Keystone Cops.
00:35 January 20, 2013 by ErnestPayne
Presumably the detectives that solved the case are flush with success.
15:12 January 20, 2013 by Vargaz
That explains the new background music playing at the police station, the choral masterpiece "Stranded" and it sounds like this: "Stranded, stranded on the toilet bowl, what do you do when your stranded and you don't have a roll? You must prove your a man and wipe it with your hand...stra-a-a-a-nded on the toilet bowl". No wonder the police station is a ghost town. Its on Fraustrasse.
00:48 February 27, 2013 by Paul Felix Schott
Only the sick in the head would put a camera there. What they say it was there for is a lie. One of them is most likely a gay and a pervert. The People in that city need to keep a close eye on the ones that put them in there. I am sure they are full of SH.. as is their story. How many Mans and woman's bathroom in that city have they done this too. The people in that town need to have the Judge get a warrant to search all the homes of anyone that had anything to do with this.

"probably breaking the law" i am telling all they are and many of them in America have been fired and some went to jail.

The Lord's Little Helper

Paul Felix Schott
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