Robberies, murder and a cannibal

The Polizei was busy dealing with corona-related crime in 2020 but also just crime.

Police repeatedly broke up parties in James Simon Park in Mitte during the warm summer months.
Police repeatedly broke up parties in James Simon Park in Mitte during the warm summer months.Morris Pudwell

Berlin-For Berlin's police officers, as for everyone, 2020 has mostly been about Covid-19. Right now, they're safeguarding vaccine deliveries - which criminals have already been targeting - while state prosecutors have been investigating 2,100 potential cases of fraud in connection with government corona aid.

They have also been on the frontlines of corona compliance, working together with the Ordnungsamt (office of public order). The stacks of thousands of corona-related violations may never be processed. 

Officers also issued 800 citations during the city's high-profile corona sceptic protests. But, like everyone else, Berlin's people in blue also had a lot going on beyond the pesky disease. 

Here's a review of the most spectacular cases in Germany's capital this year.


Police kill armed woman: On 3 January, a 33-year-old woman was shot by police in Friedrichshain. Maria B. was threatening a roommate and ransacking her shared apartment on Grünberger Straße when police officers arrived. She attacked them with a knife. The public prosecutor's office wrapped up its investigation into the 28-year-old police officer who fired the shot in July.

Repeated burglaries: On 8 January, someone broke into police station 62 in Cecilienstraße in Biesdorf where seized vehicles are stored. Impounded vehicles at the location have been repeatedly stolen or vandalised to destroy evidence. There is another break-in in December.

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Police officer suspended: A 35-year-old senior officer was suspended on 7 February for being a member of a far-right chat group. The officer transferred from Hesse to Berlin in 2019. It's just one of many cases of suspected rightwing extremism in the police throughout the year.

Shooting at Tempodrom: A 42-year-old man is shot late in the evening of 14 February as he leaves an event at Tempodrom venue. The crime is likely connected to organised gangs as four other men appear to have been shot intentionally in the legs. A 48-year-old man is now in custody.


Attacks on AfD politicians: Leftwing radicals carry out several attacks on AfD officials in the night of 10 March. The interim chairman of the Berlin AfD, Nicolaus Fest, and parliamentarian Gottfried Curio are the suspected targets of the attacks.

Fire at Tegel prison: A fire broke out in a cell at Tegel prison late on 27 March, killing an inmate serving time for murder.


Corona aid fraud: The public prosecutor's office announces investigations into 55 people. The number grows to more than 2,100 investigations by mid-November.

Shots fired: Several groups of people clashed on the night of 27 April on Nazarethkirchstraße in Wedding. The police suspect a dispute between rival gangs but have learned little about the incident.


Comedian attacked: A camera team as well as comedian Abdelkarim from ZDF's satirical Heute Show is attacked by a group of hooded suspects near Alexanderplatz during a demonstration against the corona requirements on 1 May in Mitte. The case remains open.

Comedian Abdelkarim, right, with officers after the attack. 
Comedian Abdelkarim, right, with officers after the attack. AP/Michael Sohn

Another break-in at a government building: Burglars steal blank documents, seals and stamps from the vehicle registration office in Lichtenberg.


Customs recovers tobacco: Customs seized 8.5 tonnes of stolen tobacco. Thieves had stolen the untaxed shisha tobacco, which had been seized during raids, and 5.2 million confiscated cigarettes from the main customs office in Hohenschönhausen in February. Six men and one woman were arrested and have been on trial since mid-December.

Armoured car robbery: Unknown assailants robbed an armoured car on 16 June. The first of a string of similar robberies – including one last week.

An armoured car guard rubs his eyes after being attacked with pepper spray during a robbery 16 June in Wilmersdorf.
An armoured car guard rubs his eyes after being attacked with pepper spray during a robbery 16 June in Wilmersdorf.Private

Human trafficking raid: Federal police raid a large smuggling ring on 24 June.


Clergy murder: Pastor Reinholf Zuber is found dead in his apartment on 4 July. The 77-year-old was killed as part of a planned burglary – two of three suspects were arrested in Romania in September.

Deadly relationship: A 53-year-old woman is found murdered in an apartment on Calvinstraße on 23 July.


Teen murdered: A 15-year-old girl was killed in Rummelsburger Bucht and her body found on 5 August. The suspect turned himself in the next day.

Antisemitic attack: Presumably rightwing radicals carry out an arson attack on a Jewish landlord in Lichtenberg on 14 August, the fifth attack on the restaurateur.

Terrorist attack: A mentally unstable Iraqi deliberately rams several vehicles on the city's ring highway in what is seen as an Islamist attack on 14 August.

Bank robber arrest: A man is swiftly apprehended on 25 August after doing little to cover his tracks while robbing several banks.


Illegal street race: A woman is critically injured in an illegal race on Ku'damm. Robert S. from Zehlendorf is later arrested and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Corona raves: Police once again have to break up a party in a park on 29 September. It is not the first nor not the last time.

Major operation: The mother of a well-known organised crime leader is buried on 18 September.


Squatters evicted: Police clear the leftwing radical stronghold Liebig 34 on 9 October. The residents had lost an eviction suit brought by the owner. Several thousand police officers are deployed during the eviction.

Racist police chats: According to a television report, Berlin police officers allegedly shared racist content in a chat group. Justice officials ask all employees on 10 October to report any suspicious incidents.


Treptow family tragedy: A man murdered his three-year-old daughter on 6 November and turned himself in minutes later at a nearby police station.

Gang warfare: Members of Arab and Chechen gangs clash in Neukölln and Wedding, raising fears of rising tensions. A intermediary eventually restores peace.

Jewel arrests: Police arrested three men who allegedly broke into a Dresden museum earlier this year. The jewels have yet to be recovered.

Cannibalistic murder: An arrest warrant for a 41-year-old man is issued on 17 November for a sex-related murder. The suspect, a teacher, is said to have met a 44-year-old from Lichtenberg via a dating platform. He allegedly then killed and partly ate the victim.


Gang shooting: A shooting in Kreuzberg's Stresemannstraße on 26 December injures two men. One of the victims is believed to be the brother of a local gang leader.