• Germany's news in English

Thief racks up €300,000 bill on church phone

The Local · 20 Sep 2012, 10:25

Published: 20 Sep 2012 10:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The thief took a mobile from the Dresden church in March this year and by April had managed to make enough international calls and download enough data to rack up a six-figure phone bill.

Baffled, church officials checked their records and found that the smartphone in question had indeed been missing for the past month, without anyone having noticed.

Police scoured the €310,280.28 bill and found several numbers that the thief had called regularly over the month. One of these was from the nearby Saxony town of Pirna, which was where they uncovered the likely identity of the culprit.

Church staff recognised a picture of the 21-year-old man, who they said had come into the parish hall in March to ask for money for a train ticket to Frankfurt. Neither they, nor the police know where the man is and authorities think he may have left the country.

It is not yet clear whether the man will have to pay the bill himself.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:27 September 20, 2012 by bugger
The real story here is that it's possible to have a €310,280 mobile bill for a single month. That is absurd. The cost to the carrier for that usage is probably (at most) a few hundred Euro.
11:42 September 20, 2012 by raandy
True bugger, I find it extremely hard to believe that you could rack up that kind of debt in a month, ridiculous. Even a thousand would seem way out to me.If this is true then some one needs to investigate the charges being levied on the user, criminal at best.
12:26 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Looks like an additional collection bowl will need to be passed around for a few weeks to cover this.
23:13 September 20, 2012 by xareu
If the phone was missing for so long and they didn't notice, sounds to me like it was not needed. Also, how come they didn't set a limit in their bill? Sounds to me like the administration of the church is too lax?
00:09 September 21, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
The church does not need to worry about administration costs. Just hit the tax payer to cover this sort of thing. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20120920-45097.html
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd