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CRIME

Wave of toilet stall door thefts hits Brandenburg

Motorists taking a bathroom break at a rest stop in Brandenburg might not get much privacy these days. Thieves made off with 22 stainless-steel toilet stall doors within a few days and, up to now, police are clueless.

Wave of toilet stall door thefts hits Brandenburg
Photo: DPA

The thieves hit five rest stops in eastern Brandenburg along the A12 and A10 motorways, stealing the custom-made doors that cost around €2,000 a piece.

“We have no knowledge about the guilty party or the location of the doors,” said spokesman Detlef Lüben of the Oder-Spree police jurisdiction.

While police suspect the doors were stolen to be used elsewhere, Gabi Jentzsch from door manufacturer Hering Bau thinks otherwise. She said the culprits probably plan to sell the doors as scrap metal, especially since stainless steel goes for about €1,420 per tonne these days.

However, she added, the thieves might well get an unpleasant surprise when they discover the doors they stole have stainless steel exteriors. The cores are made up of insulating material. It’s unlikely scrap dealers will pay much for them.

She said the theft of stainless-steel furnishings is not rare, especially from places that are not closely monitored, such as rest stops.

“I’ve never heard of a case that culprits have been caught or that their booty has been recovered,” she said.

While in the end, the thieves won’t be walking away with that much money, tax payers are certainly going to be picking up the bill. Police said total damages resulting from the door thefts, which will be paid by the federal government, are estimated at €110,000.

DAPD/kdj

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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