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.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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