Thieves pilfer 33-tonne earth mover

Resourceful thieves lifted a 33-tonne excavator worth €250,000 from a construction site overnight, police in the northwest German city of Gelsenkirchen said on Friday.

Thieves pilfer 33-tonne earth mover
Photo: Gelsenkirchen Police Department

An employee of the construction firm Heitkamp discovered the theft at 6:30 am on Friday when he got to work to find his piece of earth moving equipment – a brand-new, bright yellow Caterpillar Type 330 DLN – had vanished, police said. Several other excavators being used at the construction site along the Emscher Canal were still there.

The thief could not have stolen the huge machine without special equipment, including a flat-bed truck, police spokesman Guido Hesse told The Local.

“There are some that are specially designed for the extremely large excavators,” Hesse said, adding that police are completely in the dark about who could have taken the equipment.

Witnesses are asked to contact the Gelsenkirchen police.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.