Grandpa robbers sentenced to long jail terms

10th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 June 2005, HAGEN - Three elderly men were given jail terms of 9 to 12 years in Germany on Friday for a spate of bank robberies, with the judge saying he went easy on them in the hope they could leave prison alive.

10 June 2005

HAGEN - Three elderly men were given jail terms of 9 to 12 years in Germany on Friday for a spate of bank robberies, with the judge saying he went easy on them in the hope they could leave prison alive.

Dubbed the 'grandpa bank robbers' by the German media, the men, now aged 74, 73 and 64, all have long prison records from a lifetime of crime. They admitted to 14 hold-ups over a period of 16 years that netted about EUR 1 million.

Police said they simply never suspected the old men, who cut the legs out of long-john underpants to make masks. The court heard that the oldest man had a weak bladder and often asked the getaway driver for a comfort stop.

Sentencing them in Hagen, western Germany, presiding judge Horst- Werner Herkenberg said they would have received longer terms but for their age and confessions by two of the men.

"An elderly defendant has to be allowed the hope of still being alive by his release date," the judge said, but added, "This was not a case of old men having an amusing second childhood."

The men were armed with sub-machine-guns during the hold-ups and used sledge hammers to smash cashiers' armoured glass cubicles. Bank staff testified they were still having nightmares years after the lightning raids. Police finally caught the men in an ambush.

The robbers said they needed the money because they had not been able to save up bigger pensions. Police recovered EUR 400,000.

Defence lawyers said the men were relieved about their terms and would apply in a few years for parole.

DPA

Subject: German news

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