• Germany's news in English
 

Criminal Cookie Monster blackmails biscuit firm

Published: 30 Jan 2013 12:05 GMT+01:00

The famous golden Leibniz biscuit which has hung outside the Bahlsen headquarters in Hannover since 1913 was stolen at the weekend, leaving police and managers at a loss. Company chairman Werner M. Bahlsen put up a €1,000 reward for information leading to its recovery.

After allowing investigators to work up an appetite, the culprit has got in touch - in time-honoured fashion with a photo of the booty, and a demand note made up of cut-out letters from newspapers.

The Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (HAZ) received a letter on Tuesday replete with everything any self-respecting biscuit kidnapper could think of.

The photo shows a person wearing a full suit of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster, holding the large golden Leibniz biscuit and seeming to take a bite, while the lengthy letter lays out a series of demands.

"I have the biscuit!" it starts off triumphantly. "You want it and therefore you want on one day in February, to give biscuits to all the children in Bult hospital. But those with milk chocolate, not those with dark chocolate and not those without chocolate. And a golden biscuit for the child cancer ward."

The €1,000 being offered as a reward for the return of the mascot should be donated to the animal shelter in the Langenhagen area of the city, the letter reads.

"This is serious!" it continues. "Otherwise it will end up with Oscar [the Grouch] in the dustbin, really!!!"

The police at least are taking the matter very seriously, Bahlsen spokeswoman Jacobe Heers told the HAZ. "We will get the letter checked by our experts to see if it is genuine and plausible."

Bahlsen denied any speculation that the entire affair could be a publicity stunt. "It is not a marketing action by our company, no way," a spokeswoman said.

The HAZ asked a local photography expert whether the photo could be a fake. "Theoretically you could put something like this together on a computer," said Frank Westphal. "But in this case I don't believe that someone has done that." He said a computer-generated image would have been better quality.

"But whether the biscuit in the photo is the actual golden Bahlsen biscuit, of course I don't know," he added.

And the Bult children's hospital said they had no complaints about the generosity of the biscuit company. "One must not forget that this is theft and blackmail," said hospital spokesman Björn-Oliver Bönsch.

"Bahlsen has already done a lot for us - they do not need to be pushed like this."

One woman said she thought the idea was brilliant. Erika Klein, who runs a youth hostel in Hannover offered on the HAZ comment page to pay the ransom amount to the animal shelter.

"I think the idea is wonderful," she told The Local. "Of course I'm serious about paying the ransom myself, for such a great idea - and of course I would get the biscuits for the children too. I don't think the company will pay, and I'm sure the police will tell them not to pay, but I think the stunt is inspired."

Hannah Cleaver

hannah.cleaver@thelocal.com

twitter.com/hannahcleaver2

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:11 January 30, 2013 by Firmino
€1,000 reward? Being a bit stingy there....
13:31 January 30, 2013 by ichbines
well the cookie monster definitely has curvy hips!
15:42 January 30, 2013 by Bulldawg82
Go Cookie Monster!!!!
19:19 January 30, 2013 by Bigfoot76
I am sure Oscar the Grouch put him up to it. I never liked that green trash loving monster with an attitude. He is trouble.
00:53 January 31, 2013 by RainerL
Obviously these People or Person are not employed or hold a steady Job hence having time to do STUPID things. Pity; National Service perhaps would have tought them a little self respect and for others and things too.
07:25 February 3, 2013 by misschrissy
Sounds like a university prank to me
Today's headlines
Germanwings tragedy
Germany learns lessons on pilots’ mental health
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt (left) and aviation safety task force leader Matthias von Randow. Photo: DPA:

Germany learns lessons on pilots’ mental health

In response to the Germanwings flight tragedy, Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt presented plans to strengthen mental health care for pilots while Germanwings announced further compensation for relatives of the flight's victims. READ  

Germany: land of cheap beer and drunkards?
Getting müllered? Football star Thomas Müller enjoys a Mass. Photo: DPA

Germany: land of cheap beer and drunkards?

It's official. If getting drunk on a park bench is your thing, look no further than Germany as an ideal location. A study released on Monday shows it's cheap. And you'll have plenty of company. READ  

Greece crisis
Schäuble: Greece will stay in Euro regardless
People demonstrate in favour of a 'no' vote in Greece's Sunday referendum on Monday night. Photo: DPA

Schäuble: Greece will stay in Euro regardless

UPDATE: Speaking to MPs from his Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on Tuesday, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that Greece will stay in the eurozone even if the Greek public vote 'no' on July 5th. READ  

Fare-dodging fine jumps from €40 to €60
Photo: DPA.

Fare-dodging fine jumps from €40 to €60

Nationwide fines for people who ride public transit without a proper ticket will increase from €40 to €60 starting on Wednesday in some cities, the first time the penalty has been increased in 12 years. READ  

Far-right attacks on asylum homes soar
A sign reading "stop Nazis" hangs from a lamppost. Photo: DPA

Far-right attacks on asylum homes soar

The number of attacks on asylum seekers' accommodation by violent far-right groups in Germany is on course to double in 2015 after tripling between 2013 and 2014, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. READ  

How Germany will deal with the leap second
A scientist works with an atomic clock at the Federal Physics-Technology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig. Photo: DPA

How Germany will deal with the leap second

Germany's top time scientists are ready to spring into action in the dead of night on Tuesday, inserting an extra second into the clock while everyone else is asleep. READ  

German unemployment hits historic low
Photo: DPA

German unemployment hits historic low

German unemployment remained at historically low levels in June as the recovery in Europe's biggest economy remained on track, data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Greece crisis
Germany's Greeks look anxiously homeward
Antonius Chantzaras in his kiosk. Photo: DPA

Germany's Greeks look anxiously homeward

As crisis engulfs their homeland, members of the Greek community in Germany look anxiously homeward and reflect on how the crisis is already traveling back to Germany. READ  

Women's World Cup
Semi-final clash with US 'like a final'
Germany coach Silvia Neid. Photo: DPA

Semi-final clash with US 'like a final'

Ahead of Tuesday's semi-final clash against the Unites States in the Women's World Cup, Germany coach Silvia Neid warned that her team would not be relinquishing their status as the world's number one team yet. READ  

Germanwings co-pilot buried in silence
A man walks past a makeshift memorial to the Germanwings flight 4U9525 victims in Düsseldorf airport. Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot buried in silence

As the co-pilot who steered Germanwings flight 4U9525 into the French Alps in March was buried on Monday, the authorities prepared to unveil the first steps they will take to improve air safety. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
Politics
Follow our LIVE blog as Europe holds breath over Greece crisis
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
National
German restaurants among world's best
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,790
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd