Elderly Germans Admit Series of Robberies | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 03.05.2005
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Elderly Germans Admit Series of Robberies

Two men in their 70s told a German court on Tuesday how they went on a spree of bank robberies, making them the oldest known bank robbers in German history. Wilfried Ackermann, 73, Lothar Ackermann, 74, and their 64-year-old accomplice Rudolf Richter are accused of carrying out 14 robberies over a 16-year period, netting more than one million euros ($1.29 million). "The main motivation for these shameful acts that I committed was fear," said Wilfried Ackermann, explaining that he was afraid of ending his life penniless and in a retirement home. "You cannot imagine how easy it is to rob a bank when you have already done it twice before," he told the court in the western city of Hagen. He said he had spent 40 years of his life in jail. He had used some of his ill-gotten gains to buy a farm. Lothar Ackermann said he felt shame for his part in the robberies which the prosecution says took place between 1988 and 2004. "I was stupid to do it when I didn't need to," he said. When he apologized for coming to court dressed casually in a sky blue tee-shirt, the presiding judge asked if he was warm enough. Richter is currently refusing to give evidence. The three men were armed with guns for the robberies but agreed never to use them. One shot was fired during one robbery, but no one was injured. The trio were arrested last November as they were preparing to rob a bank. The court heard that 400,000 euros was retrieved from the suspects.

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