Police catch serial burglar – by his earprints

A suspected German serial burglar has been betrayed by his ears, after he left prints of his aural cavities on the doors of dozens of houses and flats.

Police catch serial burglar - by his earprints
Photo: DPA

The 33-year-old man has been in custody since being arrested after a December 2011 break-in. Police in the port city of Hamburg said on Sunday they had evidence to tie him to 96 break-ins and break-in attempts between July 2009 and July 2011.

The man stole jewellery, cash and electronic appliances, and is said to have caused a total of €500,000 in damages, but he made one fatal error: he reportedly left ear-prints on the doors while listening to see whether anyone was in.

The police said ear-prints are almost as unique as fingerprints, and so are almost as important as evidence, but they have the advantage of being rarer. Most crime-scenes are covered with fingerprints of innocents people.

Police added that they also have fingerprints and DNA evidence from various burglary scenes linking them to the man.


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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.