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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

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.

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