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Thieves outwit police by driving 48-tonne crane through Germany

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Thieves outwit police by driving 48-tonne crane through Germany
The stolen red crane. Photo: DPA
17:37 CET+01:00
German police have failed to find a large mobile crane, which was stolen in Stuttgart and has since been spotted at two points hundreds of kilometres further north.

How is it possible to escape the attentions of the police while driving a 48-tonne red crane through Germany? While this might sound like an impossible task, some thieves have managed it.

They stole the huge vehicle from a Stuttgart construction yard on Sunday evening and have since driven it hundreds of kilometres without being caught.

One sighting which has since been confirmed was on a state road near Herzberg in the Harz region in Lower Saxony.

Indicating that the thieves are driving in loops to throw police off the trail, a sighting also happened in Erfurt, southeast of the Harz region on Thursday. Police are assessing the credibility of the sighting.

While the Harz region is roughly 450 kilometres northeast of Stuttgart, Erfurt is roughly 110 kilometres southeast of the Harz mountains.

In the meantime police forces across Europe have been alerted to the missing crane.

The machine's owner, Rainer Schmid, explained on Thursday that it is not too hard to drive it. "Whoever can drive a truck can also drive a crane," he said.

Schmid has offered a reward of €5,000 to anyone who has information that leads to the crane being found. The vehicle has a value of around €200,000.

"There has been a lot of reaction," he said, adding that even biker clubs had gotten in touch wanting to help out.

If it comes to a car chase, it should be over fairly quickly - the crane has a maximum speed of 55 km/h. And its fuel tank also only takes it 350 kilometres, meaning the unusual vehicle should have come to the attention of the staff at least one gas station.
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