Raccoon breaks into workshop and destroys 40 pieces of art

Last Friday, an artist in Thüringen was shocked to discover that his workshop had been vandalised, not by a criminal but by a raccoon.

Raccoon breaks into workshop and destroys 40 pieces of art
Photo: DPA

When artist Dieter M. Weidenbach (72) entered his workshop on Friday morning, he found his canvases and sculptures damaged and strewn around the place, along with tools and paint cans, reports the Thüringer Allgemeine (TA).

He initially suspected a break-in by an art thief or vandals, but the true culprit was a lot smaller and much furrier than expected.

“It looked like a battlefield”, Weidenbach, who comes from Oßmannstadt in Thüringen, told Bild.

As Weidenbach started cleaning up he found no sign of a break in or that anything had been stolen, but he soon caught the culprit red-handed (or rather red-pawed) at the scene of the crime.

The raccoon had taken refuge perched on one of the ceiling beams.

“He looked at me calmly with his cute eyes. He had a beautiful coat. But I was so angry” the 72-year-old told Bild, and who could blame him?

The raccoon had destroyed a glazed picture frame, several easels and dozens of canvases, as well as damaging a total of 40 works of art by the artist and several sculptures, leaving behind paw prints to link him to the crime.

According to Weidenbach the raccoon caused €3,000 worth of damage, but, since it's unlikely the raccoon will pay, the insurance company will have to foot the bill.

Even worse for the artist was that the raccoon had gotten a little too comfortable in his new surroundings and refused to budge.

“I tried to chase the intruder out with a wooden staff for two days!” complains Weidenbach, but his attempts were unsuccessful.
The artist eventually called the fire department who put him in touch with a hunter. But, lucky for the raccoon, it fled the house before the hunter arrived. “It was as if he had guessed that he could be in trouble” Weidenbach told the TA.
Given that there were missing ceiling tiles and insulation lying on the floor, the raccoon probably got inside through the walls.
Weidenbach doesn't think he's seen the last of the furry friends, saying, “I'll probably have to deal with more invasions.”
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Germany’s Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’

Germany's Scheffelbrücke might not seem like much to look at, but by some accounts it is the most expensive bridge in the world. Here’s what you need to know.

Germany's Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’
The Scheffelbrücke in Baden-Württemburg isn't known for its astounding beauty or engineering prowess - but it is known for its price tag. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

If you’re travelling near the Swiss border, you might come across the Scheffelbrücke – a quiet, two-lane bridge over the Radolfzeller Aach in Baden-Württemburg. 

By bridge standards, the 20-metre concrete construction seems relatively unremarkable – until you take a look at the engraved sign on the side which quotes the price tag. 

A sign on the bridge references the incredible price of the bridge: 1,520,940,901,926,024 Deutschmarks. 

That’s 1,500 trillion marks. 

Why is the Scheffelbrücke Germany’s most expensive bridge – and why is it so drab?

While Germany has the money and the landscape to have some expensive bridges, that over the Aach hardly rivals the Golden Gate, London Bridge or Sydney Harbour for elegance or ingenuity. 

The bridge, completed in 1923, takes the name of Joseph Victor von Scheffel, a German writer who will forever be associated with the glorified concrete slab. 

While one might suspect pork barrelling or crafty accounting as a reason for the astonishing cost – or perhaps a trick to reel in the tourists to the otherwise unassuming village of Singen – the cost is in fact real.

The high price is a consequence of the out of control post-World War One inflation which hit Germany, where money almost completely lost its value. 

A sign for the bridge reveals its extortionate building costs. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

Local authorities, wanting to boost the economy, signed off on the bridge as an infrastructure project. 

As a consequence, some local workers presumably became millionaires as a consequence – although there was perhaps little meaning to the idea of being a millionaire when a billion would only buy you a concrete bridge. 

Fortunately, Germany was able to bring inflation under control and wheelbarrows full of money were no longer required to purchase basic things.

And almost a century later, when not taking wacky inflation into account, Germany’s ‘most expensive bridge in the world’ no longer has that title. 

That goes to the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco (no, not the Golden Gate but the other one), which cost 6.3 billion US dollars – or roughly 5.2 billion euro  – to build. 

The Oakland Bay Bridge however goes for eight kilometres and possesses some of the aesthetic qualities which one would expect from the most expensive bridge in the world.