If there was a perfect crime, then arson would be very close to it, because the arsonist usually destroys all traces that could lead to him. Or almost all of them. This "almost the criminal police in coburg and nurnberg are now on the trail of a firebug who has been up to mischief in northern bavaria since at least 2008. His motive was presumably revenge, even if the police do not want to go into detail about it.
The damage caused by the 59-year-old man from the district of lichtenfels runs into millions, and it is not yet clear whether the list of his crimes can be closed.
on thursday the suspected offender was arrested. The large police contingent had caused a stir in the village of upper franconia. "We had a rough property to search", the head of the criminal investigation department in coburg, bernd rebhan, explains the case. Numerous items of evidence were seized at the home of the married professional driver, including utensils suitable for the production of incendiary devices.
Such an incendiary device was one of the decisive traces in clearing up the series of fires that began in october 2008 in mockern (thuringia). At that time, an unknown person had rounded up five semitrailers in the yard of a forwarding company. Three years later, the same perpetrator of the arson attack on a tax office in burgkunstadt left his genetic fingerprint: the police were able to secure DNA traces of the perpetrator on a plastic bottle which, filled with a flammable liquid, was left at the scene of the crime.
Threats on the wall of the building
threats that the perpetrator had scribbled on the wall of the office gave further clues to his motives. In 2012, the culprit struck twice in nurnberg: he broke into the office of a freight forwarding company. The perpetrator set fire to another trucking company in nurnberg, injuring himself on a pane of glass. The last piece of the puzzle was the property damage in the yard of a forwarding company in nurnberg harbor a few days ago. There were witnesses to this incident – the police were able to further narrow down the circle of suspects.
It remains to be seen whether the 59-year-old, who rebhan says denies committing the crimes, will be considered for further offences. "We are still at the very beginning." it is possible that the arrested man is also responsible for the arson in a forwarding agency in weidnitz in the district of lichtenfels. Six trucks had burned out there in march 2013.
The arrest of the driver in a small town in the district of lichtenfels on thursday by a large police force was only a preliminary conclusion to a complicated puzzle in which the police experts from upper and central franconia and thuringia provided a model example of cross-border cooperation.
Start of a series
in the thuringian town of mockern (altenburger land district), the police had to wait a good five years for a successful manhunt. In 2008, the head of the criminal investigation department in altenburg, ulrich zeppernick, was poking around in the fog, just like his french colleagues later did, when several trucks burst into flames one night on the land of a forwarding company. All the evidence pointed to arson, but the fire had destroyed all traces of it.
In 2012 parallels were noticed between new cases in france and the first incident of the apparent series in thuringia. In burgkunstadt, an arson attack was carried out on a tax office, in nurnberg, a freight forwarding company was broken into, and a fire was set in another company building. In addition to the genetic fingerprint left by the perpetrator in burgkunstadt, the written threats led closer to the unknown perpetrator: there had also been a threatening letter before the fire in mockern, zeppernick describes.
after the falls in france, the investigators in thuringia started their investigations again intensively, as the "leipziger volkszeitung" reports reports. Witnesses were questioned, the evidence was examined again and re-evaluated. Astonishing: even in the summer of 2013, when the police in france had no clear trace of the perpetrator, the head of the criminal investigation department in thuringia provided a fairly precise description of the arsonist.
He is probably a man, certainly not young, but much older than 30, and due to his local knowledge one can assume "that the perpetrator once lived in the altenburger land and knew his way around and then moved to the region around nurnberg and coburg. Or vice versa.", zeppernick said in june 2013.
The suspected perpetrator has been in custody since friday. Although he denies the crime so far, the public prosecutor’s office in nurnberg and the criminal police assume that the evidence can convict him unequivocally. In addition to witness statements, the man is incriminated by his DNA profile, which undoubtedly matches the traces found at several crime scenes, and the utensils found in his property in the district of lichtenfels. "These are objects and substances that can be used for the production of arson", says the head of the criminal investigation department in coburg, bernd rebhan.
Deeds meticulously planned
he describes the perpetrator as "meticulously planned" has. The crime scenes are located like a string of pearls along the route that the haulier regularly traveled. He actually comes from thuringia, from a community not far from the first crime scene, and has lived in upper franconia for over 20 years. The police suspect his motive to be "personal"; the police did not want to comment on information in this newspaper that the motive could be revenge due to professional problems. The investigations are still at the beginning.