Train ticket machine attacks ‘the work of pros’

Around 75 train ticket machines have been blown up across Germany over the last few months. The Frankfurt region has been particularly badly hit with the latest explosion rocking a station on Wednesday.

Train ticket machine attacks 'the work of pros'
Photo: DPA

The method favoured by the ticket machine gangsters is to tape up all the machine’s openings, fill it with gas, and set it alight.

The latest attack was on the platform of Hesse train station Butzbach Kirch-Göns which was showered with large pieces of the machine on Wednesday. It was the 25th machine in the state to suffer damage this year due to the trend.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Shots of a blown-up ticket machine

The same happened to another ticket machine in Frankfurt Eschersheim on Tuesday. Police said a total of 75 machines have been hit across the country. So far, there have been no injuries, but detectives warn that the culprits are risking their lives.

It seems, the Frankfurter Rundschau regional newspaper reported, that the culprits are after the money inside despite most machines containing at most several hundred euros. Yet each attack causes between €20,000 to €30,000 in damage.

“You need experience for something like this,” said spokesman Udo Bühler from the Hesse state office for criminal investigation on Wednesday. “If an amateur were to have a go he could really injure himself by using the wrong gas mix, or too much of it.”

Police were reluctant to speak of ticket machine serial attackers, Bühler told the Frankfurter Rundschau. He said they had been trying to track down suspects since the attacks began at the beginning of the year.

Hesse police issued a warning in May that culprits had been attempting to blow up the – predominantly Deutsche Bahn – machines. They have advised passengers to remain alert, and to immediately report ticket machines they find taped up – and get away from them.

Even if culprits have not set off an explosion, a ticket machine full of gas could easily explode from the electric system used to power the printing system.

Deutsche Bahn said recently it planned on installing CCTV cameras to track down, or deter, suspects.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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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.