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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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.