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International diamond snatcher granny jailed

A granny who stole millions of euros worth of jewellery by snatching diamonds and replacing them with fakes while a beautiful young accomplice distracted the shopkeepers was jailed for five years in Germany on Tuesday.

International diamond snatcher granny jailed
Photo: DPA

The 59-year-old French woman targeted high-end jewellery shops like Tiffany across Europe pretending to be rich Arab woman shopping with her daughter, Frankfurt regional court heard.

The young girl – a relative of the woman but not her daughter – distracted shop assistants with an endless stream of questions and touching. The woman would then switch the real pieces of jewellery with fakes and the two would leave with their booty.

The court heard that the woman had been following the same script for years, and selling off the original jewellery on the French black market, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

But the pair met their match in the Frankfurt branch of Tiffany & Co. in September 2008 – a keen-eyed shop assistant who noticed that the ring the woman had left in place of the €217,000 was a fake.

The woman, who has already spent time in prison in France, will now see the inside of a German jail. Her accomplice, in this instance the daughter of a cousin, got three and a half years.

She told the court she intended to retire from thieving and spend more time with her grandchildren.

The Local/jcw

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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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