Monday, 24. November 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.
Mad About Mammoths At Vienna Museum
A unique exhibition in the Austrian capital Vienna has proved a massive hit after bringing together for the first time some of the most famous frozen woolly mammoth remains.
Controversy Over Advert For Fucking Hell Beer
An Austrian political party has defended a decision to promote a local beer named after the village of Fucking.
Luigi Restaurant Cooks Up Delicious Delights For Winter Season
Brothers Luigi and Leo Doci who own the renowned Luigi restaurant chain will be cooking up a storm in Semmering this winter.
Church Porn Star In Court
A Polish-born woman who made a video of herself masturbating in church is facing six months in jail after a viewer called police when he recognised the woman.
Hugh Grant Cuddles Lamb On Animal Farm With Mrs Glock
Hugh Grant led a star-studded turnout at Austria's animal farm project which unveiled its Christmas market this week.
Cheating Wife Buries Hubby Alive For New Lover
A woman who married her sisterís fiance and then attacked him with a knife before burying him alive so she could be with her new lover is facing life in jail.
Spate of Crimes throughout Vienna and Lower Austria Solved
Four men have been arrested after committing 113 break-ins, 21 thefts and causing at least 260,000 Euros worth of damage.
Dad Punished Child, 2, With Boiling Hot Shower
A two-year-old girl is in an artificial coma and fighting for her life after her father threw her into a scalding hot shower leaving her with severe burns at the family home in the Austrian capital Vienna.
Police And Firemen Get Cold Turkey
Flipping the bird was given a new meaning in Austria this week when a truck filled with plucked turkeys overturned, closing a busy motorway in the process.
Hotel Gets A Penthouse Without The Building Stress
A hotel in the southern Austrian city of Graz has gone upmarket with a five-star penthouse suite by simply having it lifted by a crane onto the top floor.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Controversy Over Advert For Fucking Hell Beer|
|Half Naked Winnie The Pooh Banned From Playground|
|Explosive Flash In Russia Blamed On Meteor|
|Luigi Restaurant Cooks Up Delicious Delights For Winter Season|
|Greedy Panda Chews Through Weighing Scales|
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.