German man confesses to robbing 53 drug stores

A German man accused of holding up 53 Schlecker drug stores confessed to a press conference in front of the Hamburg district court on Tuesday.

German man confesses to robbing 53 drug stores
Photo: DPA

The 40-year-old said he was guilty of the armed robberies, and admitted to an additional hold up too.

“I regret it strongly,” he told journalists, adding that he’d committed the crimes because he was having financial problems. In all, the robberies yielded some €90,000.

The Schleswig-Holstein-born robber said he had entered the stores politely and quietly – a statement that has been backed up by witness reports. Two witnesses said the man had said, “I would like to have yesterday’s till, please.”

The man is accused of robbing the stores with a blank pistol between July 2006 and March 2008 in six German states – said to be the biggest series of retail chain robberies the country has ever seen.

Police special forces finally caught the thief in the act in the town of Bottrop on March 28 as part of their special investigation Perücke, or “wig.”


101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor