Karlsruhe robbers thought to be evasive “Gentlemen” duo

Police said Friday evening that two bank robbers killed during a shoot-out with cops in Karlsruhe were likely the "Gentlemen Robbers," who have stolen some €2 million and evaded police custody for the past 15 years.

Karlsruhe robbers thought to be evasive
Photo: DPA

Investigators must wait for the results of DNA testing to confirm whether the Czech married couple involved in Friday’s robbery match that profile.

The alarm at the bank in central Karlsruhe was sounded around 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. After leaving the building, the robbers were intercepted by police about 30 meters from the bank. The pair immediately opened fire.

Police shot and killed one of the robbers, a 40-year-old man. The injuries sustained by his female accomplice, 38, indicated a probable suicide.

“The bullet likely penetrated through the mouth,” an investigator said.

A 28-year old female police officer was injured in the shoot-out, but police said her condition was not life-threatening. No bystanders were hurt.

Head of police Roland Lay said the duo, who were armed with pistols and wearing wigs, glasses and caps, were likely surprised to see that customers were still in the bank when they arrived.

The pair had been staying at a nearby hotel, and both robbers were carrying identification at the time of the botched hold-up.

The “Gentlemen Robbers” got their nickname after the pair apologised during one of their earlier robberies. They also reportedly returned the car keys of a getaway vehicle to their rightful owner.

But police said the tag was a misnomer and “in no way” justified. “The perpetrators never left any doubt that they would use their weapons,” the spokesman said.

Investigators believe the Friday hold-up was the 21st by the “Gentlemen Robbers,” who according to the federal criminal police (BKA) wanted list had committed 20 robberies at banks in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg.

Their last known operation took place on July 13 at another bank in Karlsruhe.


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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.