Berlin thief shows heart in surprising act of kindness

Pickpockets are an ever more common phenomenon in the German capital. But sometimes they can surprise you.

Berlin thief shows heart in surprising act of kindness
Photo: DPA

In a Facebook post from Monday, a journalist for a newspaper in Bavaria describes how his stolen wallet was returned to him through the post with a heart inside.

Under the headline ‘heartfelt thanks’, Anton Sahlender describes how he was sitting in a cafe near Berlin’s central station when his wallet disappeared earlier in May.

But to his surprise he received an anonymous package through the post which contained the stolen item.

“Not a single card or form of ID was missing. Only the cash was missing.”

“The anonymous sender also put in a thumbnail sized metal heart – perhaps a sign of thanks.”

“The person who stole from me needed the money more than me – it wasn’t just a heartless person,” the 66-year-old journo told Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, explaining that €250 had been taken.

Commenters below the Facebook post remarked on how such a contradictory act fitted with the German capital.

“That’s what it’s like in Berlin, always a bit different,” said one.

But another remarked that on a recent trip to the capital he had had his wallet stolen at a currywurst stand and hadn’t seen hide nor hair of it since.

There have been several media reports recently that street theft has been on the rise in Berlin, in touristic areas such as Kreuzberg.

Meanwhile in March a local politician told The Local officers were “overwhelmed” by criminality in Alexanderplatz.

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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.