• Germany's news in English
New Year's Eve sexual assaults
First suspect arrested after Cologne sexual assaults
Police during raids in Düsseldorf on Saturday. Photo: DPA

First suspect arrested after Cologne sexual assaults

DPA/The Local · 18 Jan 2016, 15:07

Published: 18 Jan 2016 15:07 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
A 26-year-old man from Algeria was arrested over the weekend for sexual assault and for stealing a cell phone, according to Cologne prosecutor Ulrich Bremer.

He was arrested along with a another Algerian man at a refugee home, who was detained for stealing a cell phone.

Police said in a report that the men had both been searched and two phones had been discovered - one of which had been taken during a reported group sexual assault. The second phone had been reported as a pick-pocketing.

Cologne police also reported on Monday that another man had been arrested in Aachen for stealing a cell phone on New Year's Eve in Cologne. The third man was a 25-year-old Algerian asylum seeker.

Reports of the mass sexual assaults and thefts on New Year's Eve have stirred up heated debate across the country about refugees as many of the victims reported the attackers to be Arabic or North African.

Police are investigating 21 suspects of various crimes reported that night, eight of whom have been taken into custody.

German media previously reported that two men were arrested in connection with the sexual assaults, but they were released due to lack of evidence and police never confirmed the connection.

Police raid in Maghreb district in nearby Düsseldorf

Police in Düsseldorf raided a neighbourhood known as the Maghreb district on Saturday night, detaining 40 young men.

At around 5.30pm police raided the narrow streets behind the main train station in the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, storming 18 betting shops and coffee houses in the area, police report.

Officers then checked 290 people, taking 40 of them into custody.

During the raid men of north African heritage were detained, searched, and given background checks on their refugee status.

All but two of the detained men were later released.

One was detained because his deportation from the country had already been ordered. Another was already being looked for in connection with trading in stolen goods.

Six stolen mobile phones were found in the course of the raids but police could not identify whose possession they were in.

Young north Africans have become the focus of national attention since victims of mass sexual assaults and thefts in Cologne reported that their assailants looked like they came from the region.

According to the Rheinische Post (RP), the police’s attention became focused on Düsseldorf after groups of north Africans made the short train journey from Cologne to the state capital in the hours after the attacks.

Story continues below…

Mobile phones stolen in Cologne at New Year have also allegedly been sold on in the Maghreb district.

But police say that the raids had been planned before the Cologne attacks and were part of a separate ongoing investigation into criminality in Düsseldorf.

A police report seen by Spiegel claims that north Africans commit a crime every 3.5 hours in Düsseldorf, with most being theft in the city centre.

For the first time in a long time no cases of theft were reported in Düsseldorf city centre on Saturday night, the RP reports.

Police investigations into the refugee status of the detained men continue.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd