Car-sharing trip turns into cocaine nightmare

Austrian police are searching for a 30-year-old man who allegedly forced a car-pooling woman into working as a courier for his drug deliveries around Germany.

Car-sharing trip turns into cocaine nightmare
Photo not of suspect. Photo: DPA

When the 20-year-old woman booked her car share from Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia to Vienna for only €50 ($56), she had no idea about the real nature of the 912km (567-mile) trip.

Booked through Blablacar, one of the leading car sharing sites and apps in Europe, the nightmare began when the driver picked up the woman at 9.30 am at the end of her visit to Hagen, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported on Thursday.

Instead of taking her to Vienna, the driver of the blue Dacia Logan took her to Cologne to make a stop.

There he pressured her into delivering a box to a kiosk, threatening to throw her out of the car if she refused. Unfortunately her mobile phone was also not working, so she couldn't contact anyone.

Intimidated, the woman agreed and stayed in the car during the hours-long drive to Munich, where she had to deliver another box in front of a flower shop.

She managed to have a look inside the box and saw several bags of white powder.  

Meanwhile, the friend she had been visiting in Hagen called the police, as she hadn't received a text confirming the woman was back in Austria as the two had previously arranged.

The police managed to get in contact with the suspect, who originally denied having the woman in the car with him and ignored later calls.

Her ordeal came to an end at 4.30pm — seven hours later than she expected to be home — when he dropped her off in Vienna, but not at the originally agreed destination, where police were also lying in wait.

The young woman told WAZ that she would pay the heftier fee for a train or plane ticket next time, rather than risk another trip with the car-sharing service.

Police are currently looking for the Romanian man, who Blablacar said has been removed from the site index.

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Which parts of Munich are the worst for crime?

Bavaria’s capital, Munich, is a great place to live and work, and most who live there think it’s safe. However, it’s worth knowing where and what kinds of crime occur in the city. 

Which parts of Munich are the worst for crime?

The good news is that in 2021, Munich was listed in the top 10 safest cities in the world by Numbeo, a crowdsourcing survey site dedicated to understanding perceptions of different cities and countries

However, that only captures popular sentiment. To understand where crime is happening, we must look at the statistics recorded by the city itself.

According to data provided by the city of Munich, around 60,150 crimes were reported to the police throughout the course of 2022. Each was categorised according to location and the type of crime. 

READ ALSO: Fact check – is crime really on the rise in Germany?

Aerial view of flats in Munich

An aerial view of Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

The inner-city district of Ludwigsvorstadt, on the banks of the Isar, recorded the most crimes with 8,971 offences. Petty theft was the most common crime at 1,903, with crimes against personal freedoms – constituting verbal harassment based on race or religion – in second place at 1,577. Five physical and 174 sexual assaults were reported in 2022. 

The north-east district of Schwabing-Freimann recorded the second-highest number of crimes in 2022. Again, petty theft led to recorded incidents at 993, while crimes against personal freedoms followed behind at 850. 816 incidents of more severe property theft were recorded. Two physical assaults and 84 sexual assaults were recorded. 

The city’s historic centre, Altstadt-Lehei, came in third place regarding criminal incidents. Once more, petty theft led to 2,468 recorded incidents, with crimes against personal freedoms in second place at 1,306. A total of 863 incidents of most severe property theft were recorded. Nine physical assaults took place, and 113 sexual assaults. 

What about other areas?

While crime levels remain relatively consistent across the rest of Munich, it’s worth highlighting outliers in the university district, Maxvorstadt and the outer south-eastern district Ramersdorf-Perlach. Both districts reported, on average, over a thousand more incidents than other neighbourhoods aside from the top three with the highest crime rates.

Ramersdorf-Perlach proved a particular focus for incidents of petty theft at 1,061. Crimes against personal freedoms were the most common in Maxvorstadt. 

Munich’s safest district was the village-like surrounds of Allach – Untermenzing, in the north-west. Crimes against personal freedoms were the most prevalent, with 215 incidents and incidents of petty theft at 156.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Munich is generally a safe place to live and work. Crimes generally happen near the city centre – as with most large European cities. With a little attention paid to your belongings and a degree of common sense, your time in the city will be safe and pleasant. 

What do you think? Are there areas of Munich that you think are more dangerous than others? Let us know