Banker’s wife kidnapped

A massive police operation was underway Friday to find a senior banker’s wife who has been kidnapped and held to ransom for several hundred thousand euros.

Banker's wife kidnapped
Photo: DPA

Maria Bögerl, 54, was kidnapped Wednesday morning about 10.35. She is the wife of Thomas Bögerl, Sparkasse banking chief in the Heidenheim region of Baden-Württemberg.

According to daily Bild, Bögerl has spoken with his wife by phone and she told him the kidnapper or kidnappers were threatening to kill her.

A police spokesman said Friday morning that about 300 police were involved in the search, including elite investigators. They were following 35 leads that had come in from the public, though none of these leads was concrete. Police began a search of the massive woodlands in the area on Thursday, he said.

Less than an hour after Bögerl was snatched, her husband received a call from a kidnapper. He was ordered to leave the ransom money on the A7 motorway near Heidenheim, marked with a German flag.

He followed the orders but the money – reportedly several hundred thousand euros – was not collected.

“Despite all the demands being fulfilled, there was no handover,” an investigator told Bild.

Maria Bögerl’s black Mercedes A-Class car was also missing.

Police released an appeal made by the Bögerl family: ”Please give us back our beloved mother and wife, safe and sound. We desperately appeal to your humanity.”

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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.