Pick-pocketing on the rise on Berlin trains

More passengers are falling victim to crime on Berlin’s public transport. The number of pick-pocketing cases has increased by 20 percent in a year, the police said on Monday.

Pick-pocketing on the rise on Berlin trains
Photo: DPA

Berlin police said crime increased by 11.5 percent in the last year with the number of people being pick-pocketed going up from 4,910 to 5,850.

And crime on the city’s U-Bahn and trains rockets on weekend nights, the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper reported.

Police spokesman Meik Gauer said the thieves targeted a certain type of victim.

“Most of these incidents take place at the weekend when people are drunk at night after visiting clubs and get the train and are helpless because of the alcohol,” he said.

Thieves often cut open passengers’ bags and pockets with razor blades or Stanley knives, he added.

Gauer said: “A lot of the time the victim is unconsciously helping the thief when, for example, they wear headphones. The criminal then just has to follow the cable to the iPhone.”

READ MORE: Berlin bids to put energy grid back in public hands

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101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor