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Serial Killer Index Short List
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Serial Killer Index
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  POEHLKE Norbert Hans 1985/10/23 GERMANY ... ... ... 6
1984 1985 +IT
On May 3, 1984, a truck driver found the body of 47-year-old Siegfried Pfitzer, shot once in the head with a 9mm pistol, at a highway rest stop near Marbach, West Germany, not far from Stuttgart. Police soon determined that Pfitzer's missing car was used by the bandit who robbed a bank in Erbstetten, ten miles from Marbach, on the same day, smashing the glass teller's cage with a sledge hammer to reach the money inside. In the wake of the robbery, Pfitzer's vehicle was abandoned less than a quarter-mile from the scene of the murder. Seven months later, on December 21, 37-year-old Eugene Wethey was found shot to death at a rest stop near Nuremberg. On December 28, a hammer-wielding bandit used the dead man's car to flee a plundered bank in the village of Cleebroun, ten miles from Marbach. Police recognized the pattern, but it put them no closer to a suspect, and they could only wait while the killer plotted his next move. On July 22, 1985, Wilfried Schneider, age 26, was found shot to death in a parking lot near his home, in the village of Beilstein-Schmidhausen. The murder weapon was identified as a Walther P5 pistol, routinely carried by many police officers, and authorities were not surprised when the dead man's car turned up at the scene of an attempted bank robbery in Spiegelberg, seven miles to the northwest. On that occasion, though, a quick-draw teller forced the thief to flee without his customary loot. Two months later, on September 29, anti-terrorist officers were searching the Ludwigsburg railroad station for bombs when they found a police uniform in one of the lockers. The garments were traced to Chief Inspector Norbert Poehlke, a 14-year veteran of the Stuttgart constabulary, who claimed the uniform was left in Ludwigsburg for a quick change after a relative's funeral. Investigation revealed no recent deaths in Poehlke's family, but one of his daughter's had died of cancer in March 1984, after a long siege that left the inspector with debts of some $400,000. Authorities now had their motive for robbery, and recent deviations in Poehlke's behavior indicated a potential for sudden, unpredictable violence. The investigation was gathering steam when Poehlke requested sick leave on October 14, 1985. A week later, detectives stopped by his home to ask some questions, but they found only corpses. Poehlke's wife, Ingeborg, lay slumped in the bathroom, shot twice in the head, while his son Adrian had been shot once, in a bedroom. Three days later, on October 23, Inspector Poehlke and his missing son, Gabriel, were found at the beach near Brindisi, in southern Italy. They were together in Poehlke's car, both shot with his Walther service pistol in an obvious murder-suicide. Ballistics tests confirmed that Poehlke's gun had also slain the first three victims in the murder series, and the case was closed.
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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