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CRIME

Thieves unload trucks in high-speed robberies

Prosecutors are investigating at least four suspected modern-day highwaymen said to have repeatedly surrounded moving trucks on autobahns in the dead of night and made off with loot worth over €250,000.

Thieves unload trucks in high-speed robberies
Photo: DPA

Investigators in Dortmund are looking into at least 50 separate cases of high-speed highway robbery in North Rhine-Westphalia, wrote the Westfalen Blatt regional newspaper on Saturday. The thieves are said to have developed a method of unloading goods from trucks while on the move.

Gangs of robbers used several cars to surround trucks on two-lane autobahns, Barbara Vogelsang, a spokeswoman from the state prosecutor in Dortmund, told the paper.

A first car gets in front of the truck and forces it to slow down, while a second drives close up behind it. A third car drives alongside to make sure no other vehicles overtake and witness the robbery.

Risking his life, a thief then climbs out through the sunroof of the second car and, at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour, climbs onto the bonnet and opens the back loading door of the truck in front. Climbing inside, the thief then throws the loot back to his accomplices, wrote the paper.

The truck driver, meanwhile, sees nothing of the daring operation, which lasts just a few minutes.

In over 50 separate robberies since November last year, the thieves have made off with electronic goods – including laptops and mobile phones – worth over €250,000, said Vogelsang.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

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CRIME

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.

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