Germany: Syrian migrant who robbed pensioner and smashed 245 car windows with hammer in violent spree avoids jail

By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

A Syrian national who embarked on a spree of violence across the German port city of Hamburg resulting in the smashing of hundreds of car windows and windshields, as well as the violent robbery of a pensioner at an ATM, has avoided prison.

The 31-year-old man known as Firas A. had been a thorn in the side of the authorities throughout the summer months, which began with the migrant being detained twice in April for driving without a license.

After having his car keys confiscated by the police, he reportedly went on the warpath with acts of vengeful destruction, vandalizing vehicles across the city.

It is reported by the German newspaper Bild that the suspect is responsible for the smashing of 245 car windows and windshields throughout June.

The notorious vandal was witnessed in the act a total of 12 times during this period, each time equipped with a hammer and a brass knuckle knife.

Each time he was placed into custody for the alleged offenses, he was subsequently released after a Hamburg judge ruled that there was no reason to incarcerate the man.

The repeat offender continued his illicit activity, which culminated last month in the robbery of a pensioner at an ATM. On Aug. 23, the man was caught on surveillance footage accosting an 84-year-old woman withdrawing cash at the Osdorfer Born shopping center.

After approaching the woman from behind, the suspect grabbed the cash from her hands and in the struggle injured the pensioner, who fell to the ground. She was later treated for bruises on her hands and a cut.

Firas A. was identified by security cameras at the shopping center and authorities applied for an arrest warrant, which was reportedly refused by a Hamburg judge “due to a lack of grounds for arrest.”

Despite accepting there was enough evidence that Firas A. had been the perpetrator, the court ruled that his actions were insufficient to warrant pre-trial detention and would unlikely lead to a prison sentence following conviction.

It was held that the man’s risk of absconding was low, and there was therefore no need to place the man in custody.

Despite knowing the address and identity of the suspect, the police are therefore helpless to prevent the man from reoffending.

Senior public prosecutor Liddy Oechtering told the Bild newspaper that the investigations into both the damage to property and the accusation of robbery are ongoing, but the suspect will not be taken off the streets while police conduct their inquiries.

“Arrest warrants were not applied for because there were no grounds for arrest. In particular, there is a lack of evidence that there is a risk of absconding,” she explained.

Thomas Jungfer, Hamburg regional chairman of the German Police Union said: “While the police have done their job here, there still seems to be room for the judiciary, and they are more likely to exercise mercy than dispense justice. That leaves you speechless.”

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