‘Absurd’ digger bank robbery fails miserably

When would-be bank robbers tried to loot a cash machine in Thuringia on Sunday morning, they decided the simplest option was to smash their way in with a digger. But the operation didn't go entirely smoothly.

'Absurd' digger bank robbery fails miserably
Thieves tried to rip the cash point from the wall, but left empty-handed. Photo: DPA

At around 5:15am on Sunday, residents in an apartment block in Münchenbernsdorf awoke to the sound of their building being ripped apart.

“Everything was wobbling and vibrating,” a shaken resident told Thüringer Allgemeine (TA).

Unidentified criminals had stolen a digger from a nearby firm and driven it to the town's new Geraer Bank branch, where they tried to rip the entire cash machine free of the wall, reports MDR Thüringen.

All six of the building's residents got themselves to safety and alerted police, while the town's voluntary fire service was notified at 5:30am.

But despite causing an estimated €50,000 worth of damage to the two-storey building, the thieves left empty-handed.

“No money is missing,” said Hendrik Ziegenbein, head of the bank's executive committee.

The break-in attempt was “absurd,” fire service officer-in-charge Martin Lailach told TA.

No-one was injured in the attempted burglary – but residents were evacuated while structural engineers surveyed the building and confirmed its stability.

Further examinations will take place this week.

“The bank isn't opening on Monday. All appointments are being cancelled,” Ziegenbein told TA.

Police are still on the hunt for the hapless would-be bank robbers.

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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.