Elderly burglar foiled after losing glasses

One of Germany's oldest burglars has had to spend his 70th birthday in a police hospital after being caught during his latest break-in attempt.

Elderly burglar foiled after losing glasses
Is Germany experiencing a pensioner crime wave? Photo: DPA

While breaking into a house in Düsseldorf in the early hours of May 1st, the nearly 70-year-old man and an accomplice stole jewellery and cash worth around €1,600 before being seen by the unsuspecting residents as they returned home.

After his accomplice made a getaway through the kitchen window, the older man attempted to follow suit, jumping from the balcony into the garden, but lost his glasses at the crucial moment.

Perhaps in his younger days such a manoeuvre would have been no problem, but this time the elderly burglar sustained serious injuries that prevented him from escaping.

That left him celebrating his 70th birthday over the weekend with police guards in hospital.

Officers discovered tools used to break in and a getaway outfit in his nearby car. His accomplice, whose age is unknown, managed to escape from the scene.

The pensioner's career on the wrong side of the law spans an extensive list of offences over a 42 year period, with his first ever conviction dating back to 1973.

In Düsseldorf alone he has been convicted six times, and he has taken his game to national level resulting in trials in Munich, Hannover, Passau (Bavaria) and Dortmund.

A spokesman for Düsseldorf police told The Local that he has built up quite a reputation with the police after his many convictions over the years.

But this isn't the oldest burglar  police there have come across, with "numerous older ones in neighbouring cities."

A few years ago a 75 year-old from Hessen attracted attention for a criminal record spanning six decades, which included two dozen convictions.

In other pensioner crime news, a 72 year-old was caught in the act as he tried to walk off with a chicken in Münster at the weekend.

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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.