‘Fire devil’ arsonist running amok in Viersen farmland

A “fire devil,” who has set eight blazes in less than two weeks, is on the loose in the North Rhine-Westphalian county of Viersen, daily Express reported on Monday.

'Fire devil' arsonist running amok in Viersen farmland
A file photo of a barn fire in Germany. Photo: DPA

“Not just police are involved in the hunt for the sinister fire devil,” the paper reported. “Now citizens are running their own patrols near the crime scenes.”

Police believe one or more arsonists have ignited eight fires starting March 11. A squat building, two apartment building entryways, and five barns in the area have all gone up in flames, the paper reported.

“The population in the Viersen area is extremely anxious,” the paper reported. “Night and day many townspeople drive patrols to catch anyone suspicious. So far there are no concrete clues.”

Meanwhile the cost of the fire damage to farmers, one of whom lost more than 100 round hay bales, has been “enormous,” Express reported. One farmer has put up a reward of €1,000 for information on who burnt down his barn near Lüttelforst.

Viersen police have asked witnesses to call 02162/ 377-0.


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.