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CRIME

‘Diesel dine-and-dash’ on the rise

More German motorists than ever before are filling up at petrol stations and driving off without paying, a recent study revealed. In 2011 alone there were 85,000 thefts reported – and the majority of culprits were men.

'Diesel dine-and-dash' on the rise
Photo: DPA

Germans seem to be willing to shell out for a nice vehicle but less keen to keep it running, as the number of fuel thefts from the country’s 14,100 petrol stations is on the rise, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) said on Monday.

The figures, compiled by car trading website auto.de, showed that in 2010 around 80,000 pump-and-run incidents were reported to the police. In 2011 this number had climbed by just over six percent to 85,000.

And despite most petrol stations being fitted with cameras, under half of thefts in 2011 were solved – almost 80 percent of the 31,000 cases solved were done by men. Numbers for pensioners and new drivers were non-existent.

The auto.de study also suggested that the recorded figures could be just 20 percent of the actual number meaning that there could have been 425,000 thefts in the space of a year.

So, while police recorded losses on fuel of €5.75 million for 2011, this figure could be as high as €30 million, said the FAZ.

Unsurprisingly, the auto.destudy found that drivers were more likely to steal from stations in bigger cities. According to the survey, industrial city Solingen was the hottest spot for fuel theft – with every petrol station being hit on average of 22 times a year.

But police statistics told a different story, naming Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia, as the place to be for a diesel dine-and-dash – with an average of 244 petrol thefts per 100,000 inhabitants.

After Cologne came Wiesbaden with 190 per 100,000. Then came the country’s capital, Berlin, which was tied with Gelsenkirchen at 180 per 100,000.

The cities with the least reported thefts were Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Bielefeld and affluent Munich.

The Local/jcw

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CRIME

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.

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