An Algerian convicted murderer who escaped through the window of a German courthouse and went on the run has been apprehended in France, ending a five-day manhunt for the fugitive.
An international arrest warrant was issued on Friday for 40-year-old Rachid Chouakri, who had fled through a ground-floor window of the Regensburg district court on Thursday.
Police had advised the public to stay away from the Algerian criminal, who was considered violent.
Following a 100-hour manhunt in which “virtually every police officer in Germany was looking for him,” according to Thomas Schöniger, deputy director of the Upper Palatinate police, Chouakri was apprehended by French special forces on Monday in the French town of Farébersviller, located just 3 kilometers from the German border.
The convict was located on Sunday traveling in his sister’s car through the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Authorities refrained from moving in early and continued their surveillance of the vehicle until they had attained a positive identification.
Authorities revealed Chouakri, who had entered Germany illegally at the turn of the millennium, had used a cell phone to communicate with relatives residing in France; because of this, they were able to pinpoint his location by monitoring his calls.
“We brought special units to the vehicle on the motorway and handed it over to French special units when we crossed the border,” said German Police Vice President Thomas Schöniger as cited by the German tabloid, Bild.
Regensburg criminal director Michael Danninger praised German and French investigators who “shared their findings in real time,” adding that their “cooperation was excellent.”
Chouakri, who had already significantly changed his appearance by shaving off his long hair and beard, “allowed himself to be arrested without resistance,” Danninger added in a press conference on Tuesday.
The fugitive is now in police custody in a French prison and is due to be extradited back to Germany.
German police assured the public on Tuesday that action was already being taken to ensure Chouakri’s actions at the Regensburg courthouse could not be repeated. It is understood that the two officers on duty who left the fugitive untied will face disciplinary proceedings.
Chouakri’s lawyer, Moritz Schmitt-Fricke, told FOCUS online that he was “shocked” when his client, without ankle shackles or handcuffs, launched himself out of the window of a room used exclusively by lawyers and their clients for confidential discussions. Prison employees are not authorized to enter.
“At the district court of Regensburg, the possibility of meeting with clients is poorly solved in two respects: firstly, the lack of visibility for security guards because of the frosted window; and then there is the unsecured window (inside the room),” the lawyer told the German news outlet.
Chouakri was convicted of murder and robbery and sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany back in 2013. Known as the “Kiosk Killer,” he murdered a kiosk operator, 76-year-old Fieda H., in the German city of Nuremberg.