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Stickler for low prices: Bonn woman faces jail over supermarket price switches

A district court in Bonn has slapped a month-long suspended sentence on a 62-year-old woman for fraud and forgery of documents, local newspaper Express reported on Friday.

Stickler for low prices: Bonn woman faces jail over supermarket price switches
Illustrative photo of a customer in a hardware shop. Photo: DPA

During the recent trial, the trained paralegal told the court she regretted what she'd done.

On August 8th 2017, the defendant had seen a wine capsule cutter of the “Le Creuset” brand in a hardware store in Bonn and couldn’t resist exchanging its price label for a cheaper one.

After switching the product’s price tag of €10.99 with another one for €2 she’d found elsewhere, she went to the checkout, paid for her purchase and left the shop.

Little did she know though that a detective had been observing her. When the detective approached her in the parking lot, she immediately pulled out the capsule cutter and “generously returned the €2,” Birgit Niepmann, director of the district court, told Express.

The woman's brazen action is the reason why she ended up in court in Bonn and now faces a suspended sentence of one month for falsification of documents and fraud.

But it wasn’t the first time she had been caught manipulating price labels.

At the end of 2014, in a Bonn department store she switched a label of €59.95 on a cosmetics cream product with a sticker stating a price of €2.95. Two shop assistants spoke to her about it when she was about to leave the store.

She was caught for a similar deed in October 2016. At another shop in Germany’s former capital, she had re-labeled a butter dish of the brand “Blomus” from €30 to €1. After a detective approached her, she admitted to her wrongdoing.

The repeat offender has thus far accumulated fines totalling €1,800 for her actions.

Another fine for the woman’s most recent deed was no longer an option, according to judge Tanja Glessner, reported newspaper General-Anzeiger.

If she can't keep her hands off price tags for the next two years and gets caught again, she'll have to spend a month behind bars.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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