NAfter a series of robberies in Cologne and Frankfurt, the alleged perpetrator was arrested in the Netherlands. According to information from the German Press Agency, the 60-year-old German is said to be the Reemtsma kidnapper Thomas Drach. Initially, “bild.de” reported on it.
The investigative authorities initially did not confirm this. They only spoke of an “accused from the Rhineland who has no permanent residence in Germany and who was searched for across Europe”. The public prosecutor has applied for the sixty-year-old to be extradited to Germany.
From the investigators’ point of view, it has now been confirmed that it was a series of robberies. The accused is said to have not only committed the act in Frankfurt in which the money messenger was seriously injured by gunfire in November 2019. He is also held responsible for two more robberies in Cologne in March 2018 and March 2019. He is charged with three cases of serious joint robbery and a violation of the War Weapons Control Act – the perpetrator is said to have used a machine gun in the attack at Cologne-Bonn Airport
Connection suspected from the start
The Cologne police said that at least two perpetrators were involved in each of the three robberies – “that is, driver and passenger,” said a spokesman. The investigation commission (EK) based in the Cologne police headquarters is still looking for this second man. The EK was formed after the first attack in Cologne-Godorf on March 24, 2018. On the first trace of Drach – whose identity the police did not want to officially confirm for tactical reasons – the EK was only after the evaluation of video recordings of the 6 March 2019 committed the second act at Cologne / Bonn airport and the subsequent “costly, partly undercover investigation”.
Finally, the investigators also succeeded in identifying the getaway vehicle with which the perpetrators fled to the Netherlands after this money van robbery. The vehicle could then even be secured. Whether this was before the third and last act on November 9, 2019 in Frankfurt was initially open. In any case, the Cologne investigators then managed to identify Drach and find his whereabouts in the Netherlands. The Cologne District Court finally issued a European arrest warrant. Dutch police arrested him on Tuesday morning in Amsterdam. “The investigation is far from over,” said the spokesman.
The suspicion that there might be a connection between these acts had arisen immediately after the attack in Frankfurt. So the acts were carried out according to the same pattern. In all three cases, the perpetrators were traveling with license plates that were stolen and false in the Netherlands. They finally set fire to the getaway car near the crime scene and continued to flee in a second car. After the robbery at Cologne-Bonn Airport, the murder weapon, an AK47 assault rifle, was found in the completely burned-out Audi.
After the brutal raids, it was repeatedly suspected that members of the former left-wing terrorist Red Army Faction (RAF) might have been involved in the acts. Two men and one woman are wanted, among other things, for a series of twelve robberies from 1999 to 2016. The three are said to have robbed a money transporter in the Lower Saxony district of Diepholz. On Tuesday it was said from the Cologne EK that suspicions about an involvement of the RAF trio in the Ikea robberies “have not been confirmed in the investigation”.
The alleged serial robber Drach was the mastermind behind the kidnapping of the patron Jan Philipp Reemtsma, heir of the cigarette manufacturer of the same name. Hostage takers had extorted an amount of millions, at that time still in Deutschmarks. In 1998 Thomas Drach was caught in Argentina and sentenced to fourteen and a half years in prison in Hamburg at the end of 2000.