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Burglar exonerated on grounds of competence

An Austrian professional burglar was acquitted for the first time in his life at the age of 69 when court argued that he was way too good to have committed such a clumsy crime.
Ernst Walter Stummer, 69, who is regarded the king of burglars in Austrian capital Vienna and who has spent half his life behind bars for 18 convictions, has gone free despite the finding of his DNA traces on a pair of pliers left at the scene of the crime. A person broke into a sporting goods store, stole 600 GBP and left behind pliers with Stummer's fingerprints, but the burglar veteran said that he wasn't to blame. "It probably is mine," he admitted, "but I have a lot of pliers and a lot of tools." Sometimes he lends the tools to "not very reliable people", and Stummer believes that someone committed the crime with his pliers. His lawyer Roland Friis argued that Stummer was experienced enough never to break into a building secured by an alarm. Also, no "halfway-reasonable burglar" would use such needle-nose pliers for a job, and Stummer would have surely worn gloves. In fact, it is almost an insult to accuse Stummer of "such a dilettantish approach", lawyer Friis said. The court agreed and cleared Stummer of all charges. The burglar who claims to have already retired was relieved, saying that, when he was convicted the last time, he already was "70-to-80 per cent innocent."

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