Police suspect bank robbers after internet cut in 40,000 Berlin homes

More than 40,000 households in the southwest of the German capital lost internet and TV services after cable lines were damaged on Sunday. Police are investigating whether the outage is connected to a bank robbery attempt.

Police suspect bank robbers after internet cut in 40,000 Berlin homes
Photo: DPA

Early in the morning on Sunday, residents in the Berlin districts of Zehlendorf, Steglitz and Wilmersdorf found themselves without internet after a major cable was disconnected, according to multiple Berlin-based reports.

“In Wilmersdorf, a cable duct was opened and a fiber optic cable was intentionally severed,” a Vodafone spokesperson told the Berliner Morgenpost.

Reports state that the majority of the affected homes were Vodafone customers, though Telekom customers were affected too – meaning that they couldn’t watch TV, make phone calls on their landline or surf the internet if their telecommunications services were routed over the severed cable duct.

Much later in the day on Sunday – around 6:00 pm – internet services in the three affected Berlin districts had been restored by Vodafone.

A Telekom spokesperson said the company’s technicians were not able to fix the problem on Sunday, according to radio station RBB. “They are not something you can just patch up,” the spokesperson added. “You have to stitch them together from socket to socket.”

Berlin authorities are investigating whether the shutdown has anything to do with an attempted bank robbery in the area.

In a neighbourhood between the three Berlin districts, Schmargendorf, robbers possibly tried to immobilize the communications network in order to hinder an alarm system in an attempt to break into a nearby Sparkasse bank, reported Tagesspiegel.

The bank’s security system had gone off at about 3:00 in the morning, according to the police. By the time police arrived at the scene, they found visible signs of burglary and the perpetrators had fled.

The network failure occurred at about the same time.


Ten German abbreviations that will have you texting like a true native

The modern, simple syntax of text speak is a ‘Handy’ method of communication to cut down time on the complexities of language and to impress your native German friends.

Ten German abbreviations that will have you texting like a true native
Photo: DPA

Notorious for its long compound nouns and complex grammatical system, the German language often receives a bad rap as being difficult to perfect.

However, with the ever-expanding world of social media and smartphones, the language is continually adapting. 

Both Kurzdeutsch (short German) and Netzjargon (internet slang) are on the rise, in line with the ever-expanding, fast-paced world of technology and instant messaging.

READ ALSO: ‘Short German’ text speak spares you from grammar

Our short guide to German text speak will have you chatting online like a local in no time.

Photo: DPA

Bd – Bis dann (‘until then’)

A useful phrase that is an equivalent of ‘see you later’.

kD – kein Ding (‘no problem’) 

Literally meaning ‘no thing’, this phrase can be used when you need to say that something is no bother or no issue.

kA – keine Ahnung (‘no idea’)

An all-important phrase for learners of the tricky German language, kA can stand for ‘keine Ahnung’, or ‘no idea’.

LG – Liebe Grüße (‘Best wishes’ / ‘Kind regards’)

This abbreviation is often used as a sign off at the end of a text message.

vlt/vllt – vielleicht (‘maybe’, ‘possibly’)

A shortened version useful for expressing uncertainty. Germans also use evt or evtl (short for ‘eventuell’) for the same purpose. 

WE – Wochenende (‘weekend’)

This is a helpful phrase to arrange plans or express excitement for that Friday feeling – ‘Wochenende’ is the German word for weekend.

nix – nichts (‘nothing’)

Commonly seen on social media, Germans often shorten the word ‘nichts’ to ‘nix’ online.

Gn8 – Gute Nacht (‘goodnight’)

Perhaps a little outdated now, the German word for the number eight, ‘acht’, can be used in text language to form whole words, similarly to the English use of ‘gr8’.

IRL – im richtigen Leben (‘in real life’)

Equivalent to the English ‘IRL’, this abbreviation is used to denote something in the real world, rather than in the digital one.

hdl – Hab dich lieb (‘love you lots’)

Commonly used among family and close friends, this initialism is used to express love. For a romantic partner, you might see ild (‘Ich liebe dich’ – I love you).