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CRIME

Germany’s most wanted criminal dodges police on bike

Police have come to within arm’s length of Germany’s most wanted criminal, Thomas Wolf , but he is still on the run, having ditched a car and escaped on a bicycle with no saddle.

Germany's most wanted criminal dodges police on bike
Photo: DPA

The 56-year-old, who has a price of €100,000 on his head, escaped from prison in 2000, and has a string of convictions, for bank robbery, making bomb threats, kidnapping and various violent crimes.

Police say he has been in prison or on the run for most of his life. He last surfaced at the end of March, when he kidnapped the wife of a Wiesbaden banker and took delivery of €1.8 million ransom money, leaving her tied to a tree.

Since then he has been on the run with a silver VW Golf – which was found on Friday afternoon in a wood near the village of Harpstedt in Lower Saxony.

Police say it seems as if Wolf had been sleeping in the car for a number of nights. But at some point on Friday he left the vehicle in panic after it became stuck in a muddy patch of ground.

He left the car unlocked, with the keys still in the ignition. Some of his personal belongings were left in the car too, including the saddle of a bicycle, a fact that led police to conclude he is probably on the run on the bike.

Police are now trying to work out what made him leave the car and go on the run.

In April 2000 he robbed a bank in Hamburg, leaving with 500,000 Marks, followed by an attempted bank robbery in 2002 in Brussels and a kidnapping in Eindhoven, Holland in 2003.

Between his crimes, Wolf leads a normal life, most recently living with a woman in Frankfurt under the pseudonym of David van Dyk.

He is known to have used at least 14 aliases, and have left a trail of crimes in Scotland, England, Holland and across Germany.

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CRIME

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.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

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. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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