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CRIME

Cops ‘arrest mystery autobahn shooter’

A mystery gunman who terrorised drivers on German motorways for five years by firing from his vehicles at hundreds of people driving the other way has been arrested, it was reported on Monday. One woman was hit in the throat.

Cops 'arrest mystery autobahn shooter'
Photo: DPA

The suspect has admitted to regularly shooting at vehicles travelling in the opposite direction and has shown police his weapons arsenal, according to a report by regional broadcasters Bayerische Rundfunk and SWRinfo.

The lorry driver was arrested in the Eifel region in western Germany on Sunday in the culmination of an intensive investigation, spelling the end of five years of fear on the nation’s roads, the reports said.

Police have received more than 700 reports of shots being fired at lorries and cars, always coming from the other side of the road since 2008.

In 2009 a woman was seriously injured when she was hit in the throat while driving on a motorway near Würzburg. Another woman was badly hurt when her car came off the road and hit the crash barrier after being shot at.

Another accident was caused near Stuttgart when a shot hit a lorry driver, Bayerische Rundfunk reported.

The shooter’s favourite targets were new cars in transit on the back of lorries – meaning damage was often only discovered by drivers at the end of long journeys.

Stumped, police offered a reward of up to €100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the culprit and in 2012 the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) took over the investigation.

According to the reports, the BKA then set up devices all over the country to register number plates. They waited until a case was reported and then compared hundreds of number plates of vehicles on the road with mobile phone data in the area, until they could finally narrow their search down to one suspect.

The BKA would not comment on the arrest on Sunday, but a spokesperson confirmed to the broadcasters that there had been an operation, with no further details.

The Local/jlb

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CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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