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Interior minister's car stolen in Dresden

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Interior minister's car stolen in Dresden
Photo: DPA
11:23 CEST+02:00
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière's private car has been stolen in the eastern city of Dresden, police confirmed on Thursday.

The Audi A4 was parked in the Neustadt district when it was nicked between 9:15 pm and 11:30 pm on Wednesday, police told the daily Leipziger Zeitung.

The vehicle was registered to de Maizière, but was being used by his daughter at the time.

Police said that the car was purely for personal use and did not have any special security features.

The thief was later tracked down and arrested on the A4 motorway headed to Poland, his home country.

In late June de Maizière staged a large press event at an autobahn rest stop near Bautzen – close to both the Polish and Czech borders – to draw attention to cross-border car theft. On the night of June 25 about 1,000 police officers conducted a massive operation to check vehicles in the region, but made just three arrests.

Another politician, former health minister Ulla Schmidt, had her government-issued car stolen last year while on holiday in Spain. The Social Democrat, who served as health minister for eight years, saw her reputation damaged by the incident, which revealed her extensive personal use of the vehicle.

The affair erupted in July 2009 when the car was stolen in Spain after she had told her chauffeur to drive from Berlin to her holiday home so she could undertake some official business.

Although she had flown to Spain on her own cost, the seeming profligacy of getting her €90,000 armoured Mercedes S-Class to meet her there on several vacations was a topic for debate and argument, particularly during an economic crisis.

After the Federal Court of Auditors cleared her of misuse in a preliminary report in early August, SPD chancellor candidate and current Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier took her onto his election team.

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