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CRIME

Berlin burglars steal 300 phones in one minute

Raiders stole 300 phones in just one minute on Sunday after driving a stolen car into a shopping centre in the middle of Berlin.

Berlin burglars steal 300 phones in one minute
Photo: DPA

The group of four men smashed the Ford Fiesta through glass doors of the Alexa shopping centre at 5.30am on Sunday, and charged 45 metres through the main concourse, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

The group jumped out of the car, ran up the escalator to the centre's branch of electronics giant Media Markt, where they sprinted 50 metres through the shop to the phone section and grabbed as many handsets as they could.

Abandoning the Fiesta in the popular shopping mall, which was due to open on Sunday mid-morning, the men got into a black Audi, which was waiting near the escalator, and had been driven in after the Fiesta.

Alexa's press team declined to comment after the incident and it remained unclear whether security at the centre would be tightened.

The incident mirrored a raid in the Steglitz area of the city at the end of October. Burglars drove through the front window of a pawnbrokers – also in a stolen Ford Fiesta, before jumping into a waiting dark Audi.

Berlin's State Office for Criminal Investigations has taken over the case and are looking to see whether it could be the same group as other break-ins.

Alexa shopping centre opened at 1pm, by which time there was barely any sign of the break-in. Just one entrance was closed off.

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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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