Crime writer in court for failed robbery – just like in his book

A Leipzig man who wrote crime novels - including one about a thwarted bank robbery - appeared in court on Wednesday, charged with bank robbery himself.

Crime writer in court for failed robbery - just like in his book
File photo: DPA

Sometimes there's a fine line between truth and fiction.

Just like the character in his novel, the defendant found himself struggling financially and decided to resort to drastic means to resolve the situation – namely, a bank robbery. However, just like in the novel, his plan didn't quite work out.

Perhaps he should have seen that coming.

The incident took place on January 26th this year in Lützschena-Stahmeln, a district of Leipzig in eastern Germany.

According to a police report at the time, the defendant entered a branch of the Sparkasse bank at the end of the day, wearing a mask and carrying an alarm gun. He reportedly pointed the gun at staff, demanding that they hand over money, and ordered customers to lie on the floor.

But when a bank employee handed over the cash, the defendant wasn't satisfied and demanded the contents of the safe as well – but the bank's security system prevented the safe being opened until after a time delay. After 25 minutes in the bank, the accused left with almost €40,000.

However, the writer only made it a few meters from the branch before police caught up with him.

A passerby had seen the would-be robber enter the bank with the gun, and had contacted emergency services. Meanwhile, the bank's security firm had been alerted and was able to observe the incident using surveillance technology, allowing police to arrive on the scene in good time. The author did not resist arrest.

Incredibly, the hapless criminal seemed to use exactly the same method as his protagonist, reports local paper the Leipziger Volkszeitung.

In the novel, the robber flees on a bike and hides a change of clothes behind an oak tree; when police searched the bank's surroundings, they found both a bicycle and a rucksack containing clothes (behind, you guessed it, an oak tree) and the suspect's DNA was found on both objects.

State prosecutor Hans-Joachim Walburg charged the defendant with extortion under threat of force, extortionate abduction and illegally carrying an alarm gun.

A presiding judge at Leipzig's regional court confirmed to The Local that the indictment had been read out in court, and although the 49-year-old suspect, who has lived in Leipzig for 20 years and has been in custody since the crime took place, had not yet entered a plea, his defence lawyer has announced his intention to plead guilty.

The trial is set to take place from August 10th-15th.


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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.