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OFFBEAT

Driver ‘didn’t know grenades were illegal’

Dortmund police found two Bundeswehr practice hand-grenades Wednesday night in the car of a 30-year-old man who had been driving around with the explosives in his possession for several years.

Driver 'didn't know grenades were illegal'
A real grenade. Photo: US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

The man told police he had originally planned to detonate the practice grenades – which are used by Bundeswehr soldiers in training exercises – on a New Year’s Eve, when Germans traditionally embark on an orgy of fireworks lighting.

He was pulled over for a traffic check in the North Rhine-Westphalia city and aroused police officers’ suspicion that he had taken drugs. During a search of the car, the police found a rucksack containing drugs and one of the grenades. They found the second explosive in the pocket of one of the car’s doors.

The police alerted a bomb disposal expert as the grenades – which contain a smaller amount of explosives than normal grenades – could have caused serious injury if wrongly handed. Possession of such explosives is illegal outside of the Bundeswehr.

The 30-year-old claimed not to know this. He got the grenades several years ago, he said, from a member of the Bundeswehr personnel, whose name he did not know. Having not got around to detonating them on New Year’s Eve as planned, he had instead driven around for several years with the explosives in his car.

He was charged with weapons and drug offences as well as receiving stolen property.

DAPD/The Local/dw

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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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