Thursday 28 January 2021

Police finally catch man who always screws the lids on too tightly

Eisenach, Germany (dpo) - After years of investigation, one of the greatest criminological riddles of the post-war era has apparently been solved. Today, officers of the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested a 65-year-old man in Eisenach who is suspected of screwing the lids of glass jars containing food so tightly that unsuspecting customers could barely open them, and of having done so since 1978.

Dubbed “the Lid Phantom” by the yellow press, suspect Oskar G. never once deviated from his modus operandi in all the years he was active: under the cover of darkness he crept into warehouses, factories and supermarkets, where he then tightly screwed on the lids of as many jars as he could – jars which could have otherwise been opened by anyone in an instant. At his peak, he regularly managed to screw more than 15,000 lids tight in a single night.
His crime – at times he had tampered with every fifth jar sold in Germany – was just as spectacular as his arrest: fourteen police officers were needed to handcuff him.
“The strength in his thin arms is almost unbelievable,” said Jochen Schäfer, a spokesperson for the Federal Criminal Police Office, “He has a grip like a screw clamp and dislocated several officers’ shoulders.”
A single fingerprint, found as early as 2013 on a jar of marmalade in a supermarket branch in the East Frisian town of Wittmund, put investigators hot on the trail of the suspect. Oskar G. had allegedly screwed on the lid of the marmalade jar so tight that his glove burst without him realising – a fatal mistake.
“Without this lucky find we would probably never have caught this monster,” Schäfer said.
Now the question as to G.’s motives arises. So far, the reasons for G.’s radicalization, leading to the decision to harm millions of people, remain in the dark. If profilers are to be believed, the very purest form of sadism is behind it all.
For G.’s victims, this is often the last resort
There are clues supporting the sadism theory, indicating that G.’s criminal activities ranged far further than previously assumed. Investigators now suspect that the 65-year-old could also have tampered with milk cartons, causing the milk to suddenly slosh out of the opening. He is also suspected of having placed dotted lines on plastic packaging in places where they could not actually be cut, but investigations into these crimes are still underway.
It could take a while for G., who has retired early, to finally appear in court. It is most likely that a public defender will have to be appointed for him, as no lawyer has so far been prepared to represent someone who brought such horrible suffering upon so many people. Experts believe that the prosecution will call for a lifelong sentence with subsequent preventive detention in a cell without a screw cap.
mo, dan, ssi; pictures on the right: Shutterstock; first published 2017-05-30
Read the German version HERE.
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