Workers help steal €3 million in parts from BMW

A gang of thieves systematically stole up to €3 million worth of auto parts from the Munich BMW plant and sold them through internet auctions, police said Friday.

Workers help steal €3 million in parts from BMW
Photo: DPA

Two of the 18-member gang had worked for the auto maker for years, while another had worked as a contractor for the firm, investigator Robert Weber said.

Those three suspects are on remand. They face charges of theft, handling stolen goods and deception. The gang stole everything from blank keys to wheel covers to gear sticks, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The big earner, though, was stealing and reselling car seats.

They forged production orders to have the seats made by factory colleagues. The seats were then pulled from production on the pretence of quality control.

Weber estimated the total losses to BMW at between €2 million and €3 million. The gang allegedly transferred their profits to foreign bank accounts, partly in Turkey.

The fraud was first identified by BMW’s own investigators, who then passed the matter on to police, company spokesman Michael Rebstock told Süddeutsche Zeitung. He said it was rare to see theft at a BMW plant.

“But with 31,000 workers in the Munich area, there can sometimes be a black sheep,” he said.

DAPD/The Local/dw

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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.