Wednesday, 17. September 2014
23. 01. 13. - 18:00
Swiss police investigating a bizarre crook who has ruffled feathers at natural history museums in Austria and across Europe by posing as a bird expert to steal plumage of rare and extinct species managed to steal more than 4 million euros worth of feathers.
In the process some of the exhibits were damaged beyond repair, say detectives who have contacted museums in Basel, Vienna, Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.
Police who named the bogus academic who in reality is a building site manager as Stefan G., 40, - were alerted after he visited a museum in Germany using fake credentials and asked to take measurements and make drawings of their rarest exhibits.
When father-of-two Geier who works in the building department of the local council in his hometown of Solothurn in Switzerland left the German museum curators found many of the specimens had had their feathers ripped out and contacted other museums to check on his identity.
"They discovered he was a fraud and that he had been doing the same thing all over Europe since 2007," said a police spokesman in Vienna, Austria, where he was arrested.
The Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria, discovered he had damaged nearly 100 rare or extinct exhibits.
Professorin Johanna Eder, who is director of the Natural History Museum in Stuttgart that first raised the alarm said: "He was really well informed and over the years became well-known in museum circles. Once he got access – he would steal when feathers and tail feathers and then smuggled them out of the building."
Police said they had confiscated the entire collection.
A friend of his, the taxidermist Erich Widmer (51), said: "He used to be what I would call a passionate collector but that passion became an obsession. His aim was to possess at least one feather every bird of prey that had ever existed."
Speaking from his council office to Swiss media the accused man said his ambition was a noble one and he had not done it for personal enrichment – and had never planned to sell the feathers that were kept in a special room at his home.
Basel prosecution spokesman Peter Gill said it remained unclear whether they could take legal action over the thefts in Austria and Germany – and the court case might well only concern the thefts from Swiss museums.
Pat On The Back From Manure Explosive
A traffic cop in Austria got more than he bargained for after a booby trap covered him head-to-toe in manure as he was trying to catch people speeding.
Viennese Jihad Girl May Have Been Killed
Austrian police say that one of the two attractive young teenage girls who fled the country to go to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels may have been killed.
Perversion of a Medical Dream
The Decline and Fall of the Otto Wagner Hospital, Vienna.
Fat Can Be Used To Burn Off Weight After New Patent Unveiled
It is being hailed as a sensation after scientists at an Austrian university patented a method that transforms fat storing cells into mini factories capable of actually destroying fat by burning it off.
Three Family Members Dead In Well Tragedy
A mother has lost her husband, her pregnant daughter and her son-in-law after a tragic accident where one of them fell into a well and the other two died while trying to carry out a failed rescue.
Brit Soldier Rescued After Climbing Mountain In T Shirt
A British soldier who tackled the frozen Austrian Alps wearing just shorts and a T-shirt has been rapped by officials after he had to be rescued from the snowy peak.
Mum And Daughter Struck By Lightning In Pool
A mother and her daughter were hospitalised after they were struck by lightning – in a swimming pool.
Police Nab Porn Star Who Filmed In Local Church
A woman accused of making a porn movie in a local church has been caught after an informant tipped off police that he recognised her by her breasts after an appeal for information.
Young Hip Hop Dancer Gets 18 Years For Drug Smuggling
A blonde hip hop dancer and charity worker promised an international career after she was spotted by a talent scout has been jailed for 18 years in Indonesia after her work offer turned out to have been part of an elaborate drugs con.
Teen Dying Of Cancer Killed At Charity Event After Ride In Porsche Goes Wrong
The family of a sick boy who was offered a trip in a high-performance Porsche because he was dying of cancer is suing the charity after the Porsche he was travelling in crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Boy Five Had Eyes Gouged Out by Satanists|
|Freaked-out Mushroom Pickers Discover Bag-loads of Amputated Limbs in the Woods|
|Sex Pest Simulator Developed For Japanese Gropers|
|Argentinian Cops Fake Car Accident|
|Pair Caught in Early Morning Underground Sex Video|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.